Orlando Magic Redraft: Where does Cole Anthony Rank among his draft class

Cole Anthony and R.J. Hampton made several clutch plays to give the Orlando Magic a win over the Utah Jazz. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Cole Anthony and R.J. Hampton made several clutch plays to give the Orlando Magic a win over the Utah Jazz. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic
Mar 26, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Orlando Magic guard Cole Anthony (50) reacts to a call during the second quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports /

Redrafting the 2020 NBA Draft

Why Cole Anthony Ranks 6th — Negatives

I have Cole Anthony as the sixth-best player in the class. Now this means the Orlando Magic did pretty well considering they had the 15th pick in the draft.

Even if you want to argue with some of the players around him, the Magic certainly got a quality player at a pick you would not expect to get one. Certainly not of his quality.

Anthony’s ranking is not entirely his fault.

He was not necessarily put in the best position to win with him taking over for Markelle Fultz less than 10 games into his career and then dealing with a long-term injury midway through his rookie year.

Anthony has had to be the primary scorer on a young, rebuilding team. That is not something you can say about anyone else on the list. The Magic had very little around Anthony and then completely flipped the roster around him.

After the trades in March 2021 that changed the franchise’s history, Anthony has been running with a rookie in Franz Wagner and a young veteran in Wendell Carter. Carter is certainly a good player but not an ideal secondary option on a team.

Anthony has lower shooting splits — career splits of 39.3/33.7/84.6 — than you would want, but he is taking the most shots on a losing team.

His being the primary scorer also means teams are gameplanning for him in a different way. That became especially clear as his torrid start to the season slowed down.

Someone like Anthony Edwards is a fantastic player, but teams playing the Minnesota Timberwolves put their main defensive focus on Karl-Anthony Towns, while also having to plan for a former All-Star in D’Angelo Russell.

Edwards has shined and will earn that top player status soon. But he has been able to grow with attention elsewhere defensively.

Even LaMelo Ball is a pass first player and had Miles Bridges, Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier doing most of the scoring. Ball became an enhancer to those players while still being very good in his own right.

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Anthony is certainly not the player Edwards and Ball are at this point. They may have had these advantages, but they still shined in a way Anthony has shown glimpses of but nothing approaching consistency.

Still, Anthony is really doing the best he can in the position that he is in. If all the Magic have learned in the last two years is that Anthony is not a top option, that is still valuable as they still try to figure out his role.

His poor shooting is not totally because of the team though. He needs to become a more consistent three-point shooter and a better finisher. For an athletic guard who is known for taking it to the rim he only shot 54.9 percent at the rim. That is another area for improvement.

Besides low shooting percentages, he needs to improve his defense.

He is not a bad defender but often struggles against top tier guards. That could be said about a lot of young guards. But with his defensive potential and his athleticism, you would like to see a little more out of your starting point guard who is the potential future star of the team.

If the Magic want Anthony to be a future All-Star, or even superstar than they are going to need to see more consistency out of him on both sides of the ball.