The Best Fits for Cole Anthony
Much to no one’s surprise, University of North Carolina star guard Cole Anthony recently declared for the NBA Draft; the freshman will likely be a top-10 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. During the 2019-20 college basketball season, Anthony averaged 18.5 PPG (38/35/75 shooting splits) to go along with 5.7 RPG and 4.0 APG.
Anthony’s stock saw a minor drop as the season progressed due to injury, inefficiency, and North Carolina’s rough season. He did not have much help from other Tar Heels, but it can be inferred that the team’s woes did not help him from a draft standpoint. The 6-foot-3 point guard has an advanced offensive repertoire; he can score at all three levels, while his athleticism and quickness make him extremely hard to guard. His motor and willingness to crash the boards will certainly be luxuries at the next level.
Averaging a mere four assists per game, Anthony will need to improve his court vision, but he’s still a competent passer. Optimizing shot selection and not forcing things on offense will be key areas of emphasis in terms of his development. On the defensive end, he’s shown to be serviceable with great intangibles such as quickness and athleticism. He has active hands, but struggles staying with his man at times. Anthony’s defense in the pick-and-roll game is questionable due to his size and frame, but he projects as an above-average defender,
Let’s take a look at some of the best fits for the UNC product.
There is no telling what the Pistons’ plans are for their future backcourt outside of Luke Kennard and maybe Derrick Rose. Regardless, Detroit should be in the ‘best-player-avaialble’ mode when it comes to the draft. There may be more appetizing options when they are on the clock, but Anthony’s scoring upside along with defensive serviceability make him a good fit in the Motor City.
Should they elect to go with Anthony, the Pistons could ease him into the rotation, having him learn from Rose and acting as a high-scoring option off the bench. Defense and size limitations would likely prevent a Rose-Anthony starting backcourt, but the two share some characteristics in terms of playing style. The fit isn’t picture perfect, as Anthony isn’t a supreme distributor, but he’ll be a matchup problem wherever he lands.
The organizational direction is somewhat unknown; the Pistons don’t have a true franchise centerpiece, and adding an all-star caliber talent like Anthony would be a smart move.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs will likely have a pick in the 10-12 range come draft night, and there’s no guarantee Anthony will even still be available. However, the 2020 draft will be murky and there’s no telling what could happen. The San Antonio partnership wouldn’t be a match made in Heaven; in fact, some might even question if his playing style would be beneficial in a unique system like the Spurs’.
Derrick White, Dejounte Murray, and Patty Mills are all viable options at point guard. With that being said, Mills and White are only on the books through the end of next season. San Antonio will need some go-to scoring options with LaMarcus Aldridge at the end of his prime and DeMar Derozan’s future with the organization uncertain. It would be interesting to see how the organization would build around Anthony’s volume scoring, but his competitiveness and motor on both ends of the court fit the Spurs’ identity. I would also believe that the organization would maximize his defensive potential, while taking measures to improve his court vision.
San Antonio should look to address their frontcourt woes in the upcoming draft, but may take a chance on a high-profile scoring guard.
What do the Wizards plan on doing with John Wall? That’s the million-dollar question. Set to make north of $40M over the next two seasons with a $46.9M player-option the following year, the Washington point guard may possess the league’s worst contract due to his recent injury history. It’s still yet to be seen what level of quality Wall will return to; regardless, the organization should be focused on one thing: GET BRADLEY BEAL SOME HELP.
Anthony might not be a perfect fit next to Beal in terms of distribution and defense, but he alleviates some of the scoring responsibilities that Beal attempts to fill on a nightly basis. The team has a handful of young pieces that are capable of scoring double-figures, but they lack a true secondary option.
Beal has gone on record stating his desire to stay in the nation’s capital, but a lack of results despite him scoring a ton of points may alter that enthusiasm. Anthony’s dribble-drive abilities would open up the floor to give Beal more room to work with, while his competitiveness would match that of Beal’s. Like the Pistons, Washington should take the best available prospect, but Anthony is just what the doctor ordered.