OG Anunoby

Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Draft, Anunoby

The Sixers want to select someone in the mold of Landry Shamet with the No. 24 overall pick.

“[Shamet has] always been an overcomer and mature and very very self-aware,” senior director of scouting Vince Rozman said (via Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer). “…I think those are the guys that tend to make it in that range, because they know their role and they know what’s going to be asked of them.”

Pompey suggests that Cameron Johnson fits the profile and speculates that the UNC product may slip in the draft because of his age. Johnson turned 23 in March.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

OG Anunoby Questionable For Game 1

Despite Raptors head coach Nick Nurse saying Monday that forward OG Anunoby was still about 10 days away from being able to play, the team is now surprisingly listing Anunoby as questionable for Game 1 of the NBA Finals tomorrow night, tweets Eric Koreen of The Athletic.

Anunoby, who has missed the entire 2018/19 postseason after undergoing an emergency appendectomy in early April, still didn’t have a timetable to return as recently as a week ago, when Nurse said as much. But now, it appears as though a timetable has appeared and shortened within the span on a few days, with Nurse’s 10-day prediction upgraded to a questionable designation for tomorrow evening.

Anunoby could provide some much needed depth for the Raptors against the Warriors after the team relied on an eight-man rotation against the Bucks. This is especially true if Kevin Durant returns from injury, as Anunoby would give teammate Kawhi Leonard some much needed breaks from defending the all-time great.

Given Nurse’s original estimate about Anunoby’s return, it still seems unlikely that we will see him in Game 1, but the questionable designation does breed hope for an earlier return, perhaps in Game 2 on Sunday.

Raptors Hope OG Anunoby Can Return During Finals

MAY 27: Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said today that Anunoby is about 10 days away from being able to play, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca.

“He’s doing better,” Nurse said. “He’s on the court. He’s moving around. He’s not 100%, but he’s healing.”

If Nurse’s estimate is accurate, Toronto could be aiming to get Anunoby back on the court for either Game Three or – more likely – Game Four in Oakland. Game Four is scheduled for next Friday, June 7, which is 11 days away.

MAY 26: The Raptors are quietly optimistic that OG Anunoby could return at some point during the NBA Finals, which are set to tip off in Toronto on Thursday night, according to Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.

Anunoby has missed each of the team’s 18 playoff games while rehabbing from appendectomy surgery. He underwent the emergency procedure six weeks ago, never receiving a firm timetable for his return.

For the Raptors, Anunoby provided depth off the bench in 67 games this season, averaging seven points, 2.9 rebounds and 20.2 minutes in his second campaign. Toronto managed to secure a birth in the Finals despite his absence and will soon square off with the defending-champion Warriors, a team that’s earned nine days of rest between their last contest and Game 1.

The extended timeline between Saturday’s Game 7 and Thursday — along with the spacing between each Finals game — are two key reasons why Toronto is hopeful Anunoby could return soon, Wolstat notes. If it reaches seven games, the series would run until June 16.

Anunoby, a chiseled 6’8″ defensive-minded forward, was drafted by the Raptors with the No. 23 pick in 2017. He’ll earn $2.28MM in 2019/20, with Toronto holding a $3.87MM team option on his contract for the 2020/21 season.

Raptors Notes: Nurse, Leonard, Anunoby

Fresh off his team’s Game 6 victory over the Bucks which sent Toronto to the Finals, Raptors coach Nick Nurse has apparently achieved another honor. He will coach Canada’s national team at the FIBA World Cup in China, Peter Yannopoulos of TSN tweets.

Canada Basketball, which hasn’t officially confirmed the coaching change, began courting Nurse prior to the postseason, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets.

Nurse, who was an assistant for Team Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics, would replace Hornets assistant Jay Triano as Canada’s coach, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer tweets.

We have more on the newly crowned Eastern Conference champions:

  • Toronto president Masai Ujiri had a strong response for Kawhi Leonard during their first meeting after the blockbuster trade with San Antonio last season, as Michael Lee of The Athletic details. Leonard asked Ujiri why he made the trade despite Leonard’s intention to opt out of his contract after the season. “Because you’re the best player in the league,” Ujiri told Leonard. That bold gamble has paid off, Lee notes.
  • The Raptors are optimistic that OG Anunoby will play at some point in the Finals, Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun tweets. Anunoby has not played since an emergency appendectomy last month. The last appearance by the reserve small forward was April 9th. The gaps in-between games should also help Leonard, who is dealing with a leg injury, Wolstat adds.
  • Nurse’s G League success — he won championships with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and Iowa Energy — prepared him well for the Raptors gig, Adam Johnson of 2Ways10Days.com details in a story originally posted prior to the season.

Nurse: Leonard OK, Lowry Hurting, Anunoby Out

Raptors coach Nick Nurse had a mixed report on the status of three key players as his team prepares for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, relays Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

Even though Kawhi Leonard has been noticeably limping during the past two games, Nurse expressed confidence today in a conference call with reporters that his star forward will be ready for tomorrow night.

“He’s feeling good,” Nurse said. “No concerns at this point. He’s good.”

Leonard was outstanding as Toronto won back-to-back games on its home court to even the series, scoring 36 and 19 points and playing effective defense against Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Kyle Lowry is also expected to play tomorrow, even though he is still feeling the effects of a left thumb injury that he suffered in the series against the Sixers. Lowry has been using a specially designed “oven mitt” to help with the healing process, but he still battles pain every time he takes the court.

“Kyle’s hand is not great,” Nurse said. “You know, he’s — it’s hurt and it’s sore and it causes him a lot of pain. But he seems to be able to manage it through the game and do what he can do. He’s obviously scoring and playing great on top of the other things he always does, and we’re really [seeing] a heck of a lot of toughness and again, the spirit that he just wants to be out there and help his team any way he can.”

Bontemps adds that the Raptors seem resigned to finishing the series without OG Anunoby, who is still recovering after an emergency appendectomy in mid-April.

“OG does not have a timetable for coming back,” Nurse said. “He is being more active every day. I think we are getting closer to a point where we’re — you know, unpack is the next step for him. He’s moving pretty good, he’s shooting, etc., but still a ways away from being able to take hits and contact in the areas that he needs to test out, I guess.”

Atlantic Notes: B. Brown, Butler, Anunoby, Nets

After telling ESPN on Monday night that head coach Brett Brown would be retained by the Sixers for the 2019/20 season, managing partner Josh Harris insisted today that Brown was never on the hot seat and knew during the series vs. Toronto that his job wasn’t in jeopardy (Twitter link via Keith Pompey of Philly.com).

“Lots (has) been made about this in the press, and truthfully, you can’t believe what you’re hearing,” Harris said of the Brown rumors, per Jon Johnson of WIP (Twitter link).

While the Sixers ultimately decided to stick with Brown, it’s odd that Harris should act as if the decision was never in doubt, according to Derek Bodner of The Athletic. In a tweet, Bodner points out that the team had a number of opportunities to squash speculation about Brown’s job security in recent weeks and months, and never did so.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Although he was quiet at times and saw his stats dip during the regular season after joining the Sixers, Jimmy Butler showed in the playoffs why he’ll still be one of the top free agents on the market this summer. As Marc Narducci of Philly.com relays, Butler believes the offers he gets this July will reflect that. “Technically I think, knock on wood, I will get a max contract anywhere I choose to go,” Butler said on Monday. “So if you are talking a four-year, five-year, that is more than enough money anyway. I think I still have more than enough money now from my first deal.”
  • Raptors forward OG Anunoby is starting to get more active, but it’ll still be another week before he can get up close to full speed, head coach Nick Nurse said today (Twitter link via Blake Murphy of The Athletic). In other words, Anunoby – who is recovering from an appendectomy – sounds unlikely to play a real role in the Eastern Finals unless he’s able to get back near the end of the series.
  • Draft-and-stash prospect Isaia Cordinier expects to play for the Nets in this year’s Summer League and hopes to join the team at some point, as he tells French site BeBasket (link via NetsDaily).
  • Illinois State wing Milik Yarbrough was among the prospects who worked out for the Nets last week, tweets Nicola Lupo of Sportando.

Raptors Notes: Adjustments, Anunoby, Leonard

The Raptors came out flat in Game 2 of their series with the Sixers, though Toronto nearly crept back into the contest during the second half. Still, changes could be coming for the team up north.

“We’re going to probably look at many different things and try to attack them on every front,” Danny Green said (Gregory Strong of The Canadian Press). “But the biggest key for us is to do what we do — our identity — and that’s play fast-paced basketball.”

It’s possible that either Jeremy Lin or Patrick McCaw may take Jodie Meeks‘ playing time going forward, Strong adds. Meeks, who inked a deal after the trade deadline, hasn’t played much all that much in the playoffs, totaling just 38 minutes of action over the team’s seven games.

Lin, who signed with Toronto after the franchise traded away some of its depth in the Marc Gasol acquisition, saw three minutes of garbage time action during the Raptors’ Game 1 win over the Sixers. McCaw, who signed with Toronto earlier this season after a standoff with the Warriors and an extremely short stint with the Cavaliers, saw the same amount of time during the contest.

Here’s more out of Toronto:

  • Raptors coach Nick Nurse indicated that OG Anunoby is still a long ways away from returning to the court after his emergency appendectomy. “I don’t think there’s anything close at all,” Nurse said via Blake Murphy of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Toronto’s “load management” strategy appears to be paying off for Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors, Eric Koreen of the Athletic writes. Leonard, who previously praised the franchise for how it has handled his injury risk this season, has scored 80 points over the first two games in the team’s series with the Raptors.
  • Green, who played with Leonard in San Antonio, said he understood the need for the Raptors to manage Leonard’s risk throughout the season, as Koreen passes along in the same piece. “We’ve said the bigger picture is April, May and June from the start,” said Green. “We need him at his highest level and healthiest right now. Hopefully, he’s that. He’s showing it, anyway.”

Injury Updates: Brogdon, Smart, Kanter, Scott, Anunoby

The Celtics and Bucks will each be without key guards when their second round series gets underway on Sunday, according to reports.

For the Bucks, Malcolm Brogdon has been ruled out for the first two games of the series, with the team planning on re-assessing him before Game 3, per Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link). Brogdon, who put up a 50/40/90 shooting line for Milwaukee this season, has been sidelined since March 15 due to a foot injury.

On the other side, Celtics guard Marcus Smart, who remains on the shelf due to a torn oblique, won’t play this weekend, per president of basketball operations Danny Ainge (Twitter link via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston). In fact, Ainge said the defensive specialist will be a long shot to return next weekend too. When he first suffered the injury on April 7, Smart was given a recovery timeline of 4-6 weeks, so he remains at risk of missing the entire second round.

Here are a few more injury updates for the teams that have advanced to the second round:

  • The status of Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter, who reportedly suffered a separated shoulder against Oklahoma City, remains uncertain, says Anne M. Peterson of The Associated Press. Although he participated in practice today, Kanter said afterward that he was in pain, adding that he’s taking his recovery day by day.
  • Asked whether he’s planning for Mike Scott to be available in Game 1 vs. the Raptors, Sixers head coach Brett Brown said he’s not, according to Rich Hofmann of The Athletic (Twitter link). Scott, who is battling a right heel bruise and plantar fasciitis, is an important part of a thin Philadelphia bench, so he’ll be missed if he can’t go.
  • The Raptors will also be without a rotation player to start their series against the Sixers, as OG Anunoby remains out of action after undergoing an emergency appendectomy two weeks ago, tweets ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. Having ruled out Anunoby indefinitely, the Raptors have given no hints about when the second-year forward might be able to return.

Injury Updates: Mirotic, Griffin, Anunoby, Oladipo

Nikola Mirotic has only played 14 games since the Bucks traded for him in February, but the club expects him to be ready for its playoff opener against the Pistons tomorrow, relays Malika Andrews of ESPN. Mirotic, who has been sidelined for nearly a month with a broken left thumb, was able to participate in a full practice Friday and a non-contact workout today, both times with the thumb lightly taped.

“Not much soreness, as we expected,” he said. “I should be ready to go.”

Mirotic moved into the starting lineup three games before getting hurt, replacing injured guard Malcolm Brogdon. Sterling Brown has been starting in Mirotic’s absence.

“Niko has been traveling with us,” Eric Bledsoe said. “He has been around practice. We have been feeling his energy. Him just being around has been big for us. I think he’s doing pretty good.”

There are more injury updates to pass along:

  • The Pistons aren’t sure if Blake Griffin‘s sore left knee will allow him to be ready for Game 1, writes Keith Langlois of NBA.com. Griffin offered no clues after today’s practice as the team prepared to fly to Milwaukee. “We’re taking this day by day,” he said. “I’m not looking forward to a day that’s not here right now in front of me. I’ll sit with our training staff and whoever else needs to be in on that decision and make that each day.” Griffin sat out four of Detroit’s final seven games as the team was battling for a playoff spot. He was limited to riding an exercise bike during today’s practice.
  • On top of their loss to the Magic today, the Raptors got some bad health news about OG Anunoby, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Originally projected to miss at least two weeks after an emergency appendectomy on Thursday, Anunoby may now be sidelined until the Eastern Conference Finals.
  • There’s no chance he’ll return for the playoffs, but the Pacers are encouraged by the progress Victor Oladipo has made since suffering a ruptured quad tendon in January, tweets Scott Agness of The Athletic. Oladipo has been in Miami since the injury and is reportedly doing “really well.” He will see a doctor in a few days and hopes to be in Indiana for Games 3 and 4 of the Pacers’ playoff series.

OG Anunoby Expected To Miss At Least Two Weeks

Raptors forward OG Anunoby underwent an emergency appendectomy on Thursday night after being diagnosed with acute appendicitis, the team announced in a press release.

The Raptors didn’t provide any sort of timetable for Anunoby’s recovery, simply indicating that there’s no timeline for his return and his condition “will be updated as appropriate.” However, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets that the young forward is expected to be sidelined for at least two weeks.

The Raptors’ first-round series against the Magic is scheduled to conclude on April 27, if seven games are necessary, so it’s safe to assume that Toronto won’t be counting on having Anunoby available at all vs. Orlando.

With Anunoby and Patrick McCaw sidelined, it will be interesting to see how the Raptors fill the back end of their playoff rotation. Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, and Marc Gasol are expected to start, with Fred VanVleet, Serge Ibaka, and Norman Powell contributing off the bench.

Unless the team plans to roll with an eight-man rotation, Jeremy Lin and/or Jodie Meeks could see regular minutes. Based on his initial recovery timeline, it’s possible McCaw will also be available at some point in round one.