3 Goals for OG Anunoby once he returns to the New York Knicks' lineup

OG Anunoby underwent elbow surgery earlier this month.

Toronto Raptors v New York Knicks
Toronto Raptors v New York Knicks / Sarah Stier/GettyImages
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The New York Knicks have struggled as of late, losing eight of their past 11 games. While defensive issues and shooting woes have been rampant, it's also fair to acknowledge the injuries to several of New York's key players.

Mitchell Robinson has been out since Dec. 8 with an ankle injury, while Julius Randle wasn't able to participate in the third All-Star Game of his career due to a shoulder issue. OG Anunoby has also missed time, although his return could be approaching within the next few weeks.

The Knicks acquired Anunoby in a trade with the Toronto Raptors in exchange for RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley on Dec. 30, which immediately appeared to pay off. New York went 12-2 with the defensive-minded forward in the lineup, ascending in the Eastern Conference standings.

However, it was announced on Feb. 8 that he underwent surgery to remove a loose bone fragment in his right elbow. It appears that he's getting closer to a return, as SNY's Ian Begley reported on Wednesday that Anunoby could realistically come back sometime in the middle of March.

When he's able to rejoin the starting lineup, here are three goals that he should attempt to reach before the end of the season.

3 Objectives for OG Anunoby to reach after he returns to New York's rotation

3: Average over five rebounds per game

While his exceptional defensive instincts and spot-up shooting have transitioned from Toronto to New York, Anunoby's rebounding numbers have surprisingly dipped throughout his 2023-24 campaign.

After entering the year averaging 5.3 rebounds per game over his past four seasons, the 26-year-old is recording just 4.2 rebounds each night in his 41 starts. Anunoby's 4.7 rebounds per 36 minutes as a member of the Knicks is barely above 6'4" shooting guard Donte DiVincenzo, who is pulling down 4.6 rebounds per 36 minutes this season.

It's worth noting that one of the reasons his rebounding numbers have decreased is that he's creating chances for others, as his 1.1 box-outs per game is the highest mark on the team among players who haven't spent time at the center position for the Knicks this year. New York has also been one of the league's best at crashing the glass, ranking No. 5 among all NBA teams in total rebounding.

Still, it would be nice to see Anunoby make a concerted effort to contribute on the boards once he's able to return and help the Knicks build upon one of their strengths this season. New York was able to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs in 2023 partially due to the immense rebounding disparity between both teams. If Anunoby can help crash the glass in a postseason setting, the Knicks' odds of going on another playoff run will be even higher.