The Orlando Magic have drafted point guard Cole Anthony with the 15th pick in the first round of the 2020 NBA draft.
The Orlando Magic selected North Carolina point guard Cole Anthony with the 15th pick in the NBA Draft. The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 18.5 points per game last season along with 5.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. All this despite suffering a partially torn meniscus in his right knee in December.
Anthony returned from that injury on Feb. 1 with a 26-point outburst against Boston College. That is who Anthony is. He is a dynamic scorer, capable of putting up a lot of points and creating his own shot as well as for others with his ability to get into the lane.
He is the son of former NBA player Greg Anthony, who spent 11 years in the league and played for the New York Knicks, Seattle SuperSonics and Chicago Bulls.
Anthony will provide more depth at the point guard position with the futures of D.J. Augustin and Michael Carter-Williams still uncertain due to their expiring contracts. Many experts tabbed the Magic as targeting a point guard or ball-handler because of this.
Speaking after being drafted, a tearful Cole Anthony said on the ESPN broadcast:
"“I can’t wait to just get out there and play. I’m so passionate about the sport and this is the best moment of my life right here. Nothing compares to this moment right here.”"
Anthony certainly helps the Magic fill not just a positional need but also a skill need as a primary scorere.
The Magic fell short on offense last season and ranked 23rd for offensive rating, scoring 107.9 points per 100 possessions. This is an offensive-minded pick for the team.
Anthony will bring some much needed scoring to the roster and possesses the ability to make very difficult shots, something the team is currently lacking. He showed lots of creativity in college to create shots for himself and knocked down attempts which few players would be able to.
He missed two months of the season due to arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus but any injury concerns were not deemed significant enough to avoid selecting him.
His pace will also be an asset for the team, something which has been a key focus for Steve Clifford during his time in Orlando. He will be a threat in transition and is able to beat his defender in isolation situations.
Coming out of high school, Anthony was highly regarded by NBA scouts. He was touted as a potential top-five draft pick and was the MVP of the McDonald’s All-American Game, the MVP of the Jordan Brand Classic and was also the Nike Hoop Summit MVP.
His freshman year at North Carolina did more harm than good to his draft stock. The team was poor and underachieved massively. Anthony was burdened with a tremendous amount of responsibility on a poor team and was regularly depended upon to generate offense.
On an Orlando team which also lacks offensive power, Anthony will have to take on a similar responsibility to try and add more scoring but will be given more time to develop his game. He will join a team however that has already established itself as a playoff team.
His ability to hit big shots was clear at college but Anthony will have to work on his efficiency. The guard shot just 38-percent from the field and 34.8-percent from three during his only year at North Carolina.
There have been questions raised about his shot selection and his ability to fit within a team given he was often playing as an individual at college but the young guard is bursting with potential and can have a significant role in Orlando.
Cole Anthony could provide backup to Markelle Fultz or could be utilized as a 2-guard. At 6-foot-3, he is slightly undersized for the shooting guard position but his scoring and shooting ability gives him some versatility.
The Magic needed more depth at the guard spots and that is exactly what they have got. This is a slightly riskier pick for the team given that he has caused much division among scouts and analysts who are unsure of his ability to fit within a team but Orlando have got a player with high upside.
Orlando needed to take a chance on a player who could become a big talent in the NBA and this pick represents that. This is more about offense than defense, something which will please Magic supporters.