What They're Saying: Orlando Magic's Selection of Cole Anthony

Cole Anthony
by Dan Savage

ORLANDO -- Post-draft press conferences with Magic President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman and head coach Steve Clifford made it extremely clear that Orlando was thrilled to be able to select Cole Anthony with the No. 15 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

The team identified a number of winning characteristics in Anthony’s makeup, including a high-end work ethic, a player who is able to create his own shot and score effectively, a willing defender, an underrated rebounder for his size and position, and a modern-day guard who can play both positions.

But what are others outside of the organization saying? We scoured the internet and picked up some of the top notes and quotes from draft analysts, scouts, coaches, and former players and placed them below:

ESPN's Jonathan Givony: "Anthony saw his stock fall out of the top five in an injury-plagued and inefficient season. His perimeter shooting ability and unbridled confidence as a scorer will allow him to play behind as well as alongside Fultz, who has ample size to defend shooting guards, making for a potentially highly potent backcourt." Read More

CBS Sports Gary Parrish & Kyle Boone: "I like it. He did not have a great year at North Carolina, between inefficiency and injury. But he wasn't surrounded by the kinds of players he needed to shine. I've seen enough of Cole Anthony since he was 15 to understand why people were talking about him as a potential No. 1 pick a year ago. This is a great way to prioritize the point guard position." Read More

The Athletic's Sam Vecenie: "Anthony has a terrific handle and can create separation from defenders. This year at North Carolina, he didn’t have much help around him, and the scheme really didn’t fit the way that he wants to play. His ability to get buckets is real, as he has a well-developed step-back game. He’s also more tenacious defensively than he gets credit for. The two big questions revolve around whether or not he can score at the rim, and whether or not he can get his teammates involved at a high enough level." Read More

UNC Men’s Basketball Head Coach Roy Williams via SiriusXM NBA Radio: “If it were a normal year, where Cole Anthony could go workout for those teams, he would blow them away in the workouts. I’m telling you. I love the kid. As you said, he opted to come back and try help our team when he could have just sat out the rest of the year. But he would have blown people away if he had been able to go in and do the workouts.” Listen to More

University of North Carolina assistant coach and former NBA player Hubert Davis: “He’s the best point guard that I have ever been around. Plain and simple. Period. The end. … Not just in terms of performance or preparation, just the whole total package. His focus, his attention to detail, his personality in the locker room – he is a leader on and off the floor.” Read More

Former NBA player Jermaine O’Neal via SI: “He is Greg (Anthony) 2.0. Crazy athlete. More athletic than his dad. He is tough-nosed and tough-minded like his dad. He’s already a better scorer. Greg was always able to shoot, but not off the dribble like that.” Read More

NBA Scout Spencer Pearlman via SNY: "He’s an offensive engine, so he will put pressure on the defense whether that’s attacking the rim or shooting from three. I think some of the people who are a little bit down on him aren’t really watching the games as close as they should be, because if they are, they could see that when he’s getting into the paint, while he might be missing an open driving kick to the left or to the right, he’s also seeing a crowded paint … Because of the spacing (in the NBA), there will be more guys on the perimeter. He’ll be able to get into the lane a little bit easier, which is scary because he’s already doing it pretty well now.” Watch More

ESPN's Jay Bilas: "Anthony is a talented scorer, and freak athlete that never tires. He played hurt last year, had to shoulder undue responsibility to score, and he came back rather than shut it down." Read More

SI's Michael Shapiro: "Anthony struggled mightily at North Carolina as a freshman, but his resume as a prep player shouldn’t be ignored. Anthony is an impressive scoring talent with a smooth shooting stroke. It’s worthwhile for Orlando to pair Anthony with Markelle Fultz as it searches for its lead guard off the future." Read More

The Athletic's Brendan Marks: "Anthony is tough. He’s got an NBA pedigree in his father, Greg. He’s wired to score, and he absolutely loves the game of basketball. But is he a winner? Does he elevate the level of his teammates around him? The hope is yes, but the uncertainty in answering those questions is why Anthony fell as he did. In a situation where he’s not asked to do everything, where he’ll be surrounded with a superior supporting cast, there are reasons to be optimistic about Anthony. If he lives up to his potential, we might very well be talking about the Magic’s selection as the steal of the draft." Read More

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