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Chicago Bulls Draft Target: Cole Anthony

Cole Anthony was a highly recruited player coming out of high school. He was a five-star recruit, a top-five overall player in the country, and the number one point guard in his class.

Photo: AP Photo/Ben McKeown

Here we are again, Bulls fans! The Chicago Bulls are 19-35 and have a plethora of injuries, which probably means their losing ways aren’t going to stop for a long while. The Bulls will certainly be in the top portion of the 2020 NBA Draft, so let’s take a look at a possible draft target.

Cole Anthony

Gardner-Webb v North Carolina
Photo: Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Cole Anthony of the North Carolina Tar Heels is a highly-touted prospect. Coming out of Oak Hill Academy High-School, Anthony was a highly recruited player. By the end of his high school career, he was a five-star recruit, a top-five overall player in the country, and the number one point guard in his class.

Cole has been impressive this year, despite missing 11 of UNC’s games due to a knee injury. In his first regular-season game for North Carolina, Anthony posted 34 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists. Listed at 6-foot-3, Anthony is an above-average rebounder for his size, and he can score at will.

Per Game Table
Season School Conf G GS MP FG FGA FG% 2P 2PA 2P% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS   SOS
2019-20UNCACC121133.86.117.1.3563.810.1.3722.37.0.3335.37.3.7270.46.36.83.51.70.33.53.219.89.03
Provided by CBB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 2/11/2020.

Cole can use a bit of work on reading the defense to make the correct pass when it presents itself. It may be counterproductive to draft another point guard in the lottery this year since the Bulls took former Tar Heel Coby White in the 2019 draft, but you have to go with the best player available with the most upside.

Here’s a strengths and weaknesses chart brought to you by TheStepien.Com.

STRENGTHS

  • Excellent athlete who routinely throws down power slams and makes many chase-down blocks.
  • Improved his strength over the past year and now much better at going up through contact and not getting pushed off his path on dribble drives.
  • A quick first step, excellent change of pace with polished footwork in one on one situations. Loves to split defenders out of the pick and roll.
  • Dangerous in mid-range and 3-point shot already, mechanics are a little funky but fluid overall with a high release point.
  • Able to shoot on the move coming off a pin-down and other screens, as well as hit jumpers off the dribble. 80%+ FT shooter in EYBL.
  • Already proficient with almost every shot in the book, a good layup package, gets up for slams but also comfortable with floaters and runners.
  • AAU team had a very good defensive team around him but on offense, they were extremely raw and struggled to finish his passes and provide spacing for Anthony to attack. He was still unstoppable at times, I would love to see him with more skilled teammates at the college level.
  • Good instincts defensively, great recognition, gets in the passing lanes, plays with intensity.
  • Excellent at strips and deflections, great anticipation, awareness, and quickness. Gets a lot of chase-down blocks in transition.
  • Unselfish with good vision and creativity, moves the ball and finds the open guy, does a good job.
  • Communicates well with teammates and seems to embrace being a vocal leader on the court, especially on D.
  • Quickness to blow by his man in isolation but also an understanding of pacing in pick and roll. Pull up game already really strong, quick in and out to get big, off-balance, and get space to rise for a jumper.
  • Seems to be the consummate modern-day PnR point guard, a rare combo of athletic ability, offensive skills, and a strong defensive mentality.

WEAKNESSES

  • Over dribbles the ball at times. Needs to continue to learn to play within a team construct. Decision making is up and down.
  • Still learning the reads, doesn’t have some of the more complex passes down yet. Needs to quicken his offensive recognition, isn’t able to scan the court instantly.
  • At times inaccurate/sloppy with passes. Learning live dribble counters.
  • A bit undersized at around 6’2 in shoes with just an ok wingspan. Explosive with space but can he consistently finish over length in traffic?
  • Does he have the size to switch on to bigger players? In a switch-happy environment, he’s mostly a one position player.
  • AAU team played zone, he won DPOY in EYBL but mostly effective within team construct and playing the passing lane. His on-ball D is still inconsistent with what little I could discern. Gambles too much at times.
  • Shot release a little slow, strange shot release, with his hand on the bottom of the ball instead of on the side.

OVERALL

Cole Anthony has most of the attributes you want in a modern PG, from athletic ability to defense to scoring skills at all three levels, but he just needs to polish up his awareness and play-making a bit.

If Cole Anthony is on the board by the time the Bulls pick, they should take a look at this young man. He possesses all the tools to be an effective NBA point guard.


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I'm Buzz. I like to drink, watch the Bulls, Sox, BlackHawks, and Bears. That's about it. So, let's #Crackum. Follow @BuzzOnTap on twitter to drink some beers and watch some games.

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