Carolina knew that when Cole Anthony committed to play for Roy Williams, he was going to be in Chapel Hill for just one season, as he had his eyes set on making it to the NBA. Last night, his dreams came true as Anthony was selected 15th overall to the Orlando Magic. Anthony became the fourth Tar Heel to be selected in the first round, in the last two seasons. He also became the 53rd Tar Heel to be selected in the first round. Anthony led the Tar Heels in scoring last season, averaging 18.5 points per game, despite missing 11 games.
When the season tipped off last season, there was a chance that Anthony would not only be a lottery pick, but could’ve been the first point guard taken in the draft. The son of former UNLV All-American and NBA veteran, Greg Anthony, Cole possessed the traits to be a successful point guard in the NBA. While he didn’t have the type of season he wanted to have at Carolina, he still showed the potential to be a big time player in the Association. His fall out of the lottery wasn’t all that surprising, but he may have landed in a perfect situation with the Magic.
Orlando is coming off a playoff berth, before losing in five games to the Bucks in the first round of the postseason, after the NBA restart. Despite having a losing record, and making the postseason, Steve Clifford has done a nice job rebuilding Orlando into a consistent, well coached, hard playing team. Anthony has a chance to contribute right away. The Magic last year had Markelle Fultz and D.J, Augustin average double figures scoring the basketball. Off the bench, Michael Carter-Williams averaged over 7 points per contest. What does this mean? It means that Anthony will play in a system that should allow him to be effective scoring the basketball, which is his best attribute.
While being selected by the hometown Knicks, or the Charlotte Hornets would’ve been a great story, but the small market might be a better fit for Anthony. Playing in Orlando will allow him to develop at a pace that is best for him, without the pressure of resurrecting a franchise on his shoulders. One thing is for certain, Anthony has been preparing for this moment his entire basketball life, he seems poised to make the most of the opportunity.