76ers Draft Profiles: Cole Anthony
One of the biggest fallers in the 2020 NBA draft has been North Carolina guard Cole Anthony. Originally projected to be a top three pick, Anthony has fallen off significantly to the point where he could be around when the Sixers pick at 21. The 6’3 guard had a very difficult season at UNC, but the hope is he can shake off a lot of his issues and progress back to his former self.
Check out Desmond Bane and Josh Green’s profiles here.
Coming into the 2020 season, Anthony was the number two prospect in the country behind James Wiseman. Expected to lead the Tar Heels to a deep March Madness run, their season ended at 14-19.
Cole averaged solid numbers on paper but the film shows that it wasn’t like that at all. His 18.5 PPG was the second most by a UNC freshman ever though. Anthony also tore his meniscus, but hopefully knee issues won’t linger on as he gets older.
While it seems doom and gloom so far, Cole Anthony does have a lot of positives to his game. If you take this as one bad year there is still a lot of upside to him. North Carolina’s blame isn’t all on Anthony as they had a poor roster outside of him.
His percentages weren’t good at all but defenses targeted Anthony specifically as he was their only option on offense. There are some good stats you can take from this year outside of his shooting.
Anthony’s rebounding numbers were impressive for a guard of his size getting almost six boards a game. Ball-handling is another strength of Anthony’s and showed he has NBA point guard potential with his handle. Coming with that Anthony was able to work to get his own shot and if polished can be a decent shot-creator in the pros.
The negatives do bring down a lot of hope about Anthony. He finished the 2020 campaign shooting a shockingly low 38% while having a very high usage rate. Cole shot 34% from deep and struggled to get his own offense going. The question that will linger with him to the pros is if he was a victim of circumstance or will he never live up to the High-School hype.
North Carolina was abysmal all around so there seems to be a glimmer of hope that he was just in the wrong scenario to grow as a player. Pre-existing knee issues is also the last thing Philadelphia needs right now. Tearing a meniscus at this young of an age is a bad sign and will likely be a huge red flag.
Anthony would be a luxury pick for the Sixers if he is taken at 21. Depending on the number of shooters left on the board you could justify his selection meaning they take a guy like Tyrell Terry at 34.
This scenario isn’t likely so it would mean passing on Anthony. The potential is definitely there but the Sixers aren’t in a position to groom a player to come along slowly. They need a guard who can shoot and provide help immediately. With Ben Simmons and Shake Milton, a ball-handler isn’t a dire need for Philadelphia as compared to other spots. There are too many question marks next to Anthony’s name to justify the selection for Philly.
Mandatory Credit: Gerry Broome Associated Press