Cole Anthony Player Card
Measurables: 6’2″, 185 lbs
Stats last season: 22 games played, 18.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1.3 steals per game; 6/15.7 FGs (38%), 2.2/6.4 3Ps (34.8%), 4.4/5.8 FTs (75%)
Depending on Anthony’s draft slot, he could be one of the steals of the 2020 draft. He’s an elite athlete at the point guard position and can pour it on in the scoring column. Anthony needs to polish a few things to his offensive game, particularly his shot selection and shooting consistency. He’s already a terrific finisher who uses his body well to score over and around bigger defenders. He’s one of the best ball handlers in the class and should continue to improve his dribble-drive game as he gains more experience. If Anthony can play within himself and limit his turnovers, he could turn into a high-profile scorer at the point guard position. He’s not a terrible passer but struggles to make the right reads in the pick and roll game and a halfcourt offense. Defensively, Anthony has terrific lateral quickness and instincts which allow him to stick with crafty ball handlers. He has great strength for his size and is in excellent position on defense most of the time. His lack of size and length suggest he will probably spend more time guarding point guards than shooting guards in this era of positionless basketball. Due to his lengthy injury history, Anthony could find himself out of the top ten, but if a team takes a chance on the UNC star, they could find themself a terrific floor general for the next decade or so.
Shot creation – can create separation off the dribble, go-to move is a step back, mainly going to his left. Anthony has an excellent isolation game and has minimal problems with getting his shot off
Rebounding – Anthony is an excellent rebounder for a guard, knows how to use his body and position himself on both the offensive and defensive glass
Finishing – Has a beautiful array of finishing packages, excellent floater, good strength for his size and can finish over bigger players
Ball Handling – elite ball-handler, tight handle benefits him in 1 on 1 situations, strong with the ball
Athleticism – Has Derrick Rose-like bounce, uses athleticism well when finishing around the basket, an elite athlete, especially in the open floor, quick change of direction helps him on the defensive end as well
Not a terrible passer, but isn’t a playmaker, forces passes which result in a high number of turnovers (4 assist/ 3.5 turnover ratio)
A high-volume shooter, and displays questionable shot selection at times. Shot selection might have been due to the lack of talent surrounding Anthony at UNC
An inconsistent shooter from range, should improve over time and has deep pull-up ability but needs to speed up release
Tends to gamble on defense, athleticism allows him to do so college but might not work in the NBA
Injury concerns (numerous ankle injuries in high school, torn meniscus at UNC)
Best Landing Spot
New York Knicks. If the Knicks fall in the lottery they will probably miss out on LaMelo Ball and Tyrese Haliburton. The only remaining debate for New York is between Killian Hayes or Cole Anthony, assuming the team keeps their pick. The new president of basketball operations, Leon Rose, will probably go in the direction of Anthony, considering his upside and star potential. It makes sense, as the Knicks just signed Tom Thibodeau as their new head coach, who has success coaching a scoring point guard with Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls. After pulling the trigger on Frank Ntilinka in 2017, I’m not so sure if New York will do the same with another foreign playmaker in Killian Hayes. The idea of a Cole Anthony-RJ Barrett duo is intriguing, too.
Worst Landing Spot
Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs already have two undersized guards in Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, so the pick doesn’t make sense. Anthony would be better suited as a primary ball-handler on a team surrounded by solid veterans and shooters. The Cavaliers have very little of both. With Sexton and Garland already in the mix, Anthony would spend most of his time on the bench or as a rotation player in the backup point guard slot. The organization as a whole lacks stability in every place, which will have a considerable impact on Anthony’s progression as an NBA player.
Draft range: Has top five potential, will probably be drafted in the mid-late lottery.
Basketball IQ: 6. Offensively, Anthony tends to force passes and shots here and there. His shot selection and decision-making should improve as he gains experience and adjusts to the speed of the game.
Shooting: 7. Anthony has a nice pull-up game, especially in the mid-range. I want to give him a higher score here, but he lacks the consistency from deep and needs to quicken his release.
Passing: 6. An area where Anthony needs to improve. He tends to force passes into tight windows which results in a high amount of turnovers. Has solid instincts as a passer, needs to slow down and let the game come to him instead of forcing the issue.
Dribbling: 9. Anthony’s ball-handling skills are well beyond his years, and he can beat defenders with a variety of quick dribble moves. He has a ton of moves in isolation situations and uses a tight handle to gain separation for shots.
Hustle: 9. Anthony is a high motor, high effort player on both ends of the floor. Hustle shouldn’t be an issue for him going into the NBA and allows Anthony to compete against bigger opponents.
Rebounding: 7. He’s on the shorter side of the spectrum (6’2″) when it comes to NBA players, but Anthony is very strong for his size and positions his body well on the offensive and defensive glass. Uses exceptional athleticism to grab rebounders over taller players.
Defense: 8. Anthony has tremendous lateral quickness and agility. He’s a terrific on-ball defender and is more of a positional defender given his size and length limitations. He plays the passing lanes well and has a great sense of where the ball is going to be.
Leadership: 9. As a freshman, Anthony was asked to control and lead an inexperienced Tar Heel squad. Although the team failed to meet loft expectations, Anthony displayed leadership skills of those far beyond a freshman. Has unrivaled confidence in his game, and is a gym rat.
Athleticism: 10. One of the most athletically gifted players in the draft. Extreme bounce and great quickness off the dribble. Exceptional lateral quickness and agility help on the defensive end.
Upside: 9. Isn’t a guaranteed star, but has the tools to become an All-Star in the future. Great scoring ability as a freshman, and has every athletic trait in the book. If he can stay healthy, Anthony should develop into at least a solid starter, if not better.
Total Rating: 80/100
Cole Anthony NBA Comparison
Cole Anthony’s game reminds me a lot of Derrick Rose (not MVP level Rose, but Pistons Derrick Rose), but he also gives me flashes of Eric Bledsoe. Either way, each has proved to be fringe All-Star level players when healthy. He’s an elite athlete but needs to refine the skilled parts of his game. Like Rose, Anthony is an excellent finisher in the paint and is deadly off the dribble. He also struggles from deep but can hit the occasional three. Both are not exceptional defenders but use their instincts and athleticism to their advantage.
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