North Carolina guard Cole Anthony could see his draft stock continue to drop through the process, as CBS Sports’ most recent NBA Mock Draft has Anthony almost sliding out of the lottery. CBS Sports writer Kyle Boone, who listed Anthony as the 14th-best prospect in the draft, has the Tar Heel one-and-done going to the Sacramento Kings with the No. 13 overall pick.
“Cole Anthony put up good counting stats at North Carolina but the inefficiency undoubtedly dinged his stock,” Boone wrote. “As he jumps to the NBA, he may be best suited to land in a place like Sacramento, where a lead guard like De’Aaron Fox is already in place. Anthony’s skills as a versatile scorer off the ball could really open up his scoring potential and allow him to flourish.”
Boone referenced one of the biggest concerns about Anthony, who averaged 18.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game—that he can’t be an efficient foundational piece at the next level. And that’s why Anthony ranks as Boone’s fifth-best point guard, behind LaMelo Ball, with internationals Killian Hayes and Theo Maledon sandwiching Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton.
247Sports’ Brad Crawford gathered both criticism and praise on Anthony this week, including some from NBC Sports writer Rob Dauster, who also projected Anthony 13th in his own mock draft this week.
“I’m torn on Cole as a prospect,” Dauster wrote. “On the one hand, I love everything about the way he is wired. He’s tough, confident and competitive, the ultimate alpha. He’s a worker that will put in the hours in the gym. Given the way he grew up, he’s not going to be intimidated by anything.
“In an era where draft prospects are quitting their teams, what they call “shutting it down”, midseason once they’ve earned a spot near the top of the lottery, Cole fought back from a knee injury that required surgery to get back on the court and fight with his team despite the fact that they really don’t have much left to play for during the season. I respect that. If I’m an NBA GM, I want players wired that way.”
And that’s the tough thing about Anthony, who certainly has a high ceiling. He’s a high-level athlete who tied for the best vertical leap at Team USA tryouts two summers ago, jumping 43 inches. And when that athleticism is paired with his ability to pull up from anywhere on the court — Anthony ranked “very good” on Synergy on his shooting off the dribble, and he ranked in the 96th percentile on unguarded catch-and-shoot jumpers — he represents one of the few players in a weak draft with star potential.
So will Anthony truly drop, potentially out of the lottery, for his flaws? Or will an NBA team value his ceiling more and take a swing on a potential star? The answers won’t come until draft night.
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