Main Scouting Report
Anthony Cowan is a 4-year guard out of the University of Maryland after having an accomplished career for the Terrapins and leading them to one of the best seasons in the school’s history in 2019-20. Cowan thrived as a lead guard that can be a deadly offensive option.
He is undersized at 6’0 and will be taken advantage of because of his lack of size and athleticism to make up for that lack of size. If he does not stick in the NBA, it will be because of his defense and size, not because of a lack of offensive talent. He will most likely be selected at the end of the draft as a guy that fills out the end of the bench or starts the season in the G League, but could end up running the second unit for a team in the near future.
Cowan is at his best when he has the ball in his hands at the top of the key, with everything in front of him. Cowan can see the court and everything that happens two steps ahead while he is at the helm, and knows exactly what to do with the ball. He has a quick first step to help create space going to the rim or to set up his patented step back 3 that he perfected at Maryland.
In the pick and roll, Cowan oftentimes showed off his ability to be a great facilitator. Paired with Jaylen Smith, they were the most efficient offensive pairing in the pick and roll in the 2019-20 season, according to ESPN. He set up the big man to make a decision between him and the roller, and it often led to an easy bucket for him or Smith in the halfcourt.
Cowan was great at grabbing the ball in transition and punishing the defense while they were recovering. Often, defenses would collapse to defend the rim, and Cowan would comfortably step into an open 3 at the top of the arc, where he was a deadly shooter.
Cowan may be a great lead guard when he has the ball, but he did not put up the assist numbers expected of a ball dominant guard like him, only averaging 4.7 assists a game. He had a questionable shot selection and would resort to hero ball in close games, which ended up hurting Maryland in crucial games at the end of the season in February. Also, Cowan only shot 39% from the field and 30% from 3, which was well below his career average and seemed to be a hiccup, but he will need to be an above average shooter at least to end up as a rotation player.
Cowan’s biggest weakness is on the defensive end. Cowan will be picked on repeatedly at the next level because he is very undersized at 6’0 and 180 pounds. He was not a good on-ball defender but was able to get steals and keep himself on the court and out of foul trouble, which was good enough at Maryland. But will that be good enough in the NBA? Probably not.
Cowan has a wide range of tools in his offensive arsenal and is a capable playmaker for others, so he has the potential to have a good career as a backup point guard in the NBA. I think he won’t be able to reach the level of a solid starting option because he is too limited on the defensive end to guard the best of the best for long stretches without being a massive liability.
I think that Cowan will have a career like Ish Smith or D.J. Augestin if he can figure out his jumper or improve his defense. He can be a good option to run the second unit and step up if injuries happen, but not starting material as an undersized point guard.
Cowan has not received a lot of draft buzz as an older player and not having the physical tools that stand out to NBA teams. However, there is a strong chance that Cowan is selected towards the end of the draft, between the 45 and 60th pick. If he ends up not being drafted, he will be signed to a G League roster and given an opportunity eventually.
I think that Cowan’s best landing spot would be in a situation where he can allow to play as the main offensive creator in the reserve unit. He might not get an opportunity immediately, but he can carve out a nice role for himself somewhere. I think the 76ers should take a chance on Cowan in the second round, as they need playmakers in the second unit.
He would struggle in a situation where he asked too much to early on and he cannot adjust to the speed of NBA ball. If he ends up in a trainwreck situation such as the Knicks or Bulls, I think he could struggle mightily and fizzle out of the league.
Basketball IQ: 8
Cowan is a smart player that knows how to use his lack of size to his advantage and is a good passer.
Cowan was the vocal leader for a successful Maryland team and can lead an offense.
Cowan is not an exceptional athlete in any regard, but has a quick first step. His height and lack of strength will be a major detriment.
Cowan projects to be a rotational player at the next level.
Cowan only shot 30% from 3 in his senior year, but is a better shooter than that and will improve with NBA training.
Cowan is a proven playmaker that thrives in the pick and roll.
Cowan has a tight handle and can use that to create shots for himself.
His height leads to him being a nonfactor on the boards.
Cowan had a few defensive lapses, but played hard for a very successful team.
Cowan was an average college defender and will most likely struggle at the next level due to his size and lack of elite athleticism.