Skip to main content

O.G. Anunoby is finally getting the defensive recognition he deserves. 

The Toronto Raptors forward has earned a spot on the NBA's second-team All-Defensive team, the league announced Tuesday. He was considered the fourth-best forward, earning 81 vote points to beat out Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jaden McDaniels, and Anthony Davis who just missed the cut.

Jarren Jackson Jr. and Evan Mobley earned first-team forward spots alongside Jrue Holiday, Alex Caurso, and Brook Lopez. Draymond Green earned the other second-team forward spot alongside Anunoby, Derrick White, Dillon Brooks, and Bam Adebayo.

“I think it would mean a lot,” Anunoby had said during his season-ending media availability when asked about the possibility of making an All-Defense team. “I think it'd be very deserved. I think I've been a great defender for a while, so it'll just be the validation.”

Anunoby led the NBA in both steals per game with 1.9 and total steals with 128. He also swatted 0.7 blocks per game and played in 67 games, the most for the oft-injured 25-year-old since 2019-20.

Toronto's defense ranked 11th in the NBA this season but was 1.7 points per 100 possessions better with Anunoby on the court. He also ranked among the league's best forwards in advanced metrics. For example, he was considered the 11th-best defensive forward by FiveThirtyEight’s Defensive RAPTOR statistic. BBall-Index had him as the league’s best defensive small forward and sixth-best forward overall.

Anunoby becomes just the second player in Raptors history to earn a spot on an All-Defensive team, joining Kawhi Leonard in 2018-19. Toronto has yet to have a first-team All-Defensive player.

Reigning Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart was the first player to miss the cut.

Further Reading

Report: Executives believe Raptors won't retain Gary Trent Jr. in free agency

Becky Hammon's basketball know-how and adaptability should excite Raptors despite risks

Could the Raptors pursue Dillon Brooks as Grizzlies' guard hit unrestricted free agency?