OG Anunoby
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OG Anunoby's versatility offers Knicks options against Joel Embiid

Published April 30, 2024 at 11:24

Nick Nurse must have anticipated the challenge Joel Embiid posed. OG Anunoby, primarily tasked with guarding perimeter players in the series, shifted his focus in Game 4. The New York Knicks deployed him to match up against Embiid during crucial moments, a move that proved pivotal in their defensive strategy. This adjustment, unconventional for the Knicks, disrupted the Philadelphia 76ers' offensive rhythm, limiting them to a mere 16 points in the final quarter.

Anunoby's impact extended beyond the box score, earning him accolades and potentially a lucrative contract in the offseason. Despite his impressive performance of 16 points and 14 rebounds, his defensive contributions were particularly noteworthy. Anunoby relentlessly contested Embiid's shots, denying him favorable scoring opportunities and forcing him away from the paint, where he could utilize his size advantage.

The Knicks' defensive tactics were unorthodox, as Anunoby, typically a forward, took on the challenge of guarding Embiid, while Precious Achiuwa, a center, defended a wing player in Kelly Oubre Jr. Despite the unexpected shift, Anunoby rose to the occasion, showcasing his defensive versatility and justifying the Knicks' acquisition of him.

New York's approach is proving effective. In their recent victory, the Knicks utilized Anunoby and Achiuwa as their frontcourt, dominating the boards and showing superior effort compared to the 76ers when it counted.

Interestingly, Nurse had previously employed a similar tactic against Embiid in the 2022 playoffs. Now, his former players were implementing those same strategies against him, turning the tables on their former coach.

Source Sports Illustrated : Former Raptors Show Toronto Was Onto Something With Smothering Defense vs Embiid
Source The Athletic : OG Anunoby's versatility gives Knicks several options to defend Joel Embiid, 76ers
April 30   |   4 answers
OG Anunoby's versatility offers Knicks options against Joel Embiid

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