Written and Contributions by Rob Manoff and Jason Timperley
As the November 18 Draft inches closer, more names become mocked to the 76ers. It’s pretty clear that the team needs guard help, specifically at the point guard position. Recently we took a look at shooting prospects Tyrell Terry and Desmond Bane, and now we will look into the University of North Carolina Tar Heel, Cole Anthony.
“I see myself as the definition of a true one, which has been changing [over the years],” Anthony says. “The best point guards can all score the basketball. You look at Chris Paul, the truest point guard in the league. Give home 20 points a game. He can score that basketball. I see myself as being able to score, but at the same time get my teammates the ball, hit the open man, and make the right basketball play.”From NBA.com “Cole Anthony’s dedication to game, offensive skills could reap NBA reward”
Anthony, by all accounts, said the right things. Point Guards in the league needs to be able to score the ball, while also getting teammates involved and making the correct basketball plays. But does his words translate to the basketball court?
The 6 foot 3 190 pound guard averages 18.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game for UNC while shooting 34.8% from three. While Anthony’s shooting numbers, especially from deep, do not jump off the page, Tar Heels assistant coach Brad Frederick may have a reason.
“I don’t think he’s say he played the perfect year, but at the same time, all the obstacles he was up against have to be taken into account,” Frederick says. “His shooting numbers would have been a little bit better had he not been forced into so many bad shots. A lot of times it was ‘give the ball to Cole and see if he can bail us out.’ He is a better shooter than his numbers indicate.”UNC Assistant coach Frederick taken from From NBA.com “Cole Anthony’s dedication to game, offensive skills could reap NBA reward”
Since we are on the topic of shooting and statistics let’s take a look at Anthony’s good and bad according to Synergy.
- PNR ball handler – Average 38th percentile – .684 points per possession
- Spot up – Very good 74th percentile – .849 points per possession
- Isolation – Excellent 92nd percentile – 1.098 points per possession
- Off-screen – Very good 71st percentile – 1 point per possession
- Catch and Shoot – Excellent 85th percentile – 1.206 points per possession
- All jumps shots off the dribble – Very good 72nd percentile – .879 points per possession
- Transition offense – Below average 24th percentile – .849 points per possession
- Around the basket (nonpost ups) – Poor 12th percentile – .843 points per possession
- Shot clock < 4 seconds – Below Average 25th percentile .537 points per possession
One thing to note according to Synergy, when Anthony drives right he is excellent at getting to the basket, and when he drives left he is excellent with the pull-up jumper. Other than those two options for each hand, Cole doesn’t have enough possessions where he pulled up right-handed or drove left-handed in order to give a grade. NBA players are going to learn his tendencies, and as a scoring point guard, Anthony will need to work on his game when it comes to dribbling with both hands. Nothing is easier to guard than when you know what a guy is going to do if he drives right or what he will do if he drives left. In order to take his game to the next level Anthony is going to need to work on that.
Now, the fun. Video!
Quick note: The second video shows Anthony’ strength off the pick and roll as a rhythm shooter to both sides, which could be a good thing, even with a lack of pull up possessions to his right, if he does well with them in the limited possessions he has, he can easily expand on that in the future.
Anthony missed a big portion of his freshman season opting for surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Prior to his decision, he had struggled badly in two games, which it seems obvious the knee was a factor but played well in the games prior to that. Knee surgeries out of college used to be a big concern but, with medical advancements in surgery and physical therapy, players can bounce back quicker and in some cases just as strong as pre-surgery. If I am the 76ers unless there are other medical conditions the surgery and injury don’t scare me.
Anthony can bring something to the 76ers that they are in desperate need of, maybe more so than shooting. Isolation creation. Anthony can take guys off the dribble, side step, step back, and pull up off the dribble and create in a variety of ways. Point blank Cole can score the ball. And the Sixers need that. The biggest concerns around Anthony, in my opinion, are his lack of scoring options when it comes to dribbling a certain way and his transition offense. Synergy has him ranked below average, he still was 5th in the ACC in transition scoring at 4.1 points per game. Doc Rivers is going to want to push the pace, and Anthony is going to have to be able to score and create in transition, a part of his game he will need to improve. Also, Anthony’s shooting is very sub-par compared to guys like Terry and Bane, however, if you believe his coach, Cole wasn’t put in the right positions at UNC to succeed at shooting.
Cole Anthony, if available at 21, can be a great addition to the 76ers, who would benefit from a PG to play alongside Ben Simmons at times. Anthony brings a skillset that the 76ers don’t have much of, isolation creation, and one that is really important in today’s NBA. If Frederick is correct in his thoughts on Anthony, and he is a better shooter than he showed this season, he should in theory thrive playing alongside Ben Simmons.
Anthony was recently mocked to the 76ers by The Ringer, however, the Phoenix Suns have been said to have interest in him at pick 10. Seems like Anthony can go anywhere from the lottery to mid-first round, so depending on how things fall he could be available for the Sixers. This draft is deep for potential bench and role players, and pick 21 could turn into a contributing player. Any player in the draft is going to need to work on things, but with the right coaching and being put in the right situations to succeed Cole Anthony could be a steal and provide the 76ers with the isolation scoring they so desperately need.