UNC Point Guard Cole Anthony posted a statement on his Twitter account earlier today addressing whether or not he will be entering his name into the pool of prospects eligible for selection in the 2020 NBA Draft. His answer? He won't be answering that question, yet.
Anthony, in an impressive manner for a 19 year old, said that he is going to refrain from making announcements on that topic at this time due to the pain being endured by the world at this moment. Anthony also noted that he would like to use his platform for a "higher purpose" and added details regarding the effect of the coronavirus in New York City.
Anthony declaring for the draft would certainly improve the talent pool as it stands right now, but would not be enough to change scouts' general opinion on the draft class. The 2020 draft class is currently being seen by team personnel around the league as one of the weakest the NBA will see for a while. Sam Vecenie's latest mock draft for The Athletic has the Charlotte Hornets selecting Cole Anthony with the 8th pick in the draft. Anthony went into his first and likely only season at UNC with the potential to play his way to being the first overall pick in the 2020 draft. Injury complications and a lack of efficiency and team success with the Tarheels caused his draft stock to fall a bit, leaving him in the middle of the lottery in terms of current projections. My personal favorite scouting report on Anthony was put together by Spencer Pearlman for The Stepien, and you can find it here.
If the Knicks were to select Anthony, they would be getting an engine of a point guard who will be able to be a 3-level scorer able to play on and off the ball. The extent of his contributions to winning remains to be seen on an NBA level; I believe that no matter how large his impact on a game is, the positive aspects of that impact will be coming from his scoring. I don't see him as a great playmaker, but good development could leave him in a position where he is playmaking at a league average (or better) level.
Anthony is 6'3 and I believe he'll only be able to do a good defensive job on opposing point guards. This limits 'switchability' but his quickness should make up for some of this in terms of his overall defensive ability. He should also be able to defend smaller shooting guards, but certainly not one of the size of say, RJ Barrett.
Some of Anthony's struggles can be attributed to the same reason as many of RJ Barrett's from his rookie season with the Knicks: a lack of spacing. One of Barrett's greatest strengths is his ability to get to the rim and finish; he is only able to do this efficiently when he has space in the paint. The Knicks' unwillingness to surround Barrett with shooters for a significant amount of his minutes on the court resulted in numerous missed attempts around the rim by Barrett. One of Anthony's weaknesses is his finishing, despite his ability to get to the rim easily. I believe this might become less of a weakness for him if given proper amounts of spacing by whatever NBA team selects him. From what we've seen from New York, he might not get the kind of space he needs if he ends up in a Knicks jersey.
Anthony is likely to enter the draft, but we'll have to wait for his official announcement. The Knicks would benefit from him entering his name into the available talent pool.