One of the biggest question marks of the 2017 NBA Draft has to be Ogugua “OG” Anunoby, the explosive 6-8, 215 pound forward out of Indiana. The 2016 Sporting News Pre-Season All-American was off to a terrific start to his sophomore campaign with the Hoosiers and was projected by many to be a sure-fire lottery pick, then he tore the ACL in his right knee on January 18 against Penn State, putting his lottery status in the air.
Since the injury, Anunoby has been working feverishly to get back to the court, with his eyes on the NBA for next season. A freakish athlete who proudly sports throwback short shorts, he is regarded as a solid two-way player with relentless energy. He averaged 11.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in just over 25 minutes per game for the Hoosiers last season— up from 4.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks in just shy of 14 minutes per game his freshman season.
Anunoby, who is expected to resume basketball related activities in June, recently spoke with The Vertical’s Shams Charania about the progress of his rehab:
“I have a lot of motivation because I know a lot of players have came back better than ever, and I want to do the same,” Anunoby told The Vertical. “This has been the chance for me to work on ball-handling, my shooting mechanics, shooting consistency, free-throw shooting, creating for others and myself, defending position-less basketball – those are the keys for me at the next level.
“My rehab has been going great, doing a lot of strength drills and core work. I can do set shots, and now I need to get more dynamic as the months continue. I’ll be jogging, shooting, working on my strength soon. I want people to know how hardworking of a player I am.”
There’s no doubting that the Portland Trail Blazers, who own three first round picks in this year’s draft (15, 20, and 26), could use what Anunoby brings to the table: an athletic wing who defends and has a high motor. But the question remains, is a player who relies so much on his athleticism coming off of a torn ACL worth the pick?
Experts seem divided as to where Anunoby will be selected, with nbadraft.net projecting him in the second round at 40th overall to the Pelicans, and Draft Express projecting him at 13 to the Nuggets (two spots before Portland’s first pick).
Rip City, would you like to see the Trail Blazers take OG Anunoby with one of their three first round picks? If so, how high?