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Could OG Anunoby Be the Missing Piece for the Knicks?

We saw something special in the game.

The way they moved the ball, their defense, and how they won.

OG Anunoby only tried to score 12 times in his first game with the Knicks on Monday. But that’s what they wanted. They wanted to share the ball more. The Knicks traded RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley, who usually score 33 points combined, to get Anunoby. He fit in with the Knicks right away, even though he hadn’t practiced with them before.

Some writers say bad things about players after they leave, but I’ve been saying these things about Barrett for a while, even when he was still playing for the Knicks:

He doesn’t help his teammates score because he doesn’t pass the ball much.

He’s not very fast, so he’s not great at defending.

And he doesn’t shoot 3-pointers very well.

Could OG Anunoby Be the Missing Piece for the Knicks?

OG Anunoby only tried to score 12 times in his first game with the Knicks

Anunoby is different from Barrett. He’s also a small forward, but he’s good at shooting 3-pointers. He made three of them in his first game with the Knicks, helping the team win. He also made a big 3-pointer in the fourth quarter. His shooting made it easier for Julius Randle to score points.

“Seems like the perfect piece that complements our team very well,” Randle said about Anunoby.

Anunoby didn’t need any special instructions. He just reacted to what was happening in the game. He said after the game, “Read and react … that was everything, really.” He only had one night to learn the Knicks’ playbook because he spent New Year’s Eve alone in a hotel room.

Anunoby played for 35 minutes and scored 17 points. He helped the team win by a lot of points while also guarding Minnesota’s best player, Anthony Edwards.

“I thought the first game was impressive, just to be ready and figure it out on the fly,” Thibodeau said. “Played smart. … Played great defense. Hustled without the ball. Made big shots. Great start.

“It’s huge for us.”

Anunoby would’ve played more, but he got too many fouls and had to leave the game four minutes before it ended. The crowd at Madison Square Garden clapped for him as he left, showing that they appreciated his effort. It’s not clear yet if they love him, but they definitely liked him a lot after his first game, just like they did with Josh Hart last season.

And it seems likely that Anunoby will sign a big new contract with the Knicks this summer. His agents were sitting with the Knicks’ front office during Monday’s game.

“I let my agents handle that stuff,” Anunoby said about his free agency.

Keep in mind, though, that this is just the start. The Knicks are better with Anunoby, but they’re not going to win the championship this year. They still need to do the hardest part, which is to get a superstar player who can help them win. That’s probably the plan for the future, but we don’t know for sure because the Knicks’ president never talks to the press, even after making a big trade.

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