Cole Anthony, the son of former NBA player — and New York Knick — Greg Anthony, moved with his family to New York City after his father retired from the NBA. He grew up there, learning his game in the city (at least until he transferred to a basketball powerhouse in Virginia as a high school senior).
Now an expected lottery pick in the NBA Draft, Anthony would love to play for the Knicks just a handful of subway stops away from where he grew up. Here is what he told Zach Braziller of the New York Post.
“It would be pretty cool,” the Upper West Side native and one-and-done former North Carolina star told The Post in an exclusive interview. “I was a fan for a good amount of time. I do like the Knicks. I think they definitely can use a guard, a good scoring point guard. If that happens, it would be pretty cool to play in front of my little brother.”
Part of the reason Anthony likes the Knicks is what he sees as a fit: They need a ball-handling lead guard, and that’s Anthony’s role.
“What pick you’re drafted at doesn’t mean anything,” he said. “I’d rather be drafted 17th in a really good situation for myself, then go seventh in a terrible situation for myself where I’m behind two other lead guards. It’s really all about fit.”
Would Anthony be a good fit?
Anthony put up counting stats at North Carolina, averaging 18.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 4.3 assists a game last season. He shot 34.8 percent from three and had a good but not great PER of 17.5.
However, Anthony has been more of an aggressive scoring, attacking guard and not a facilitator through his career, and the Knicks will want more of a distributor. That is unless the guy they draft is an elite scorer. Anthony is not. The challenge for Anthony is the things that worked in high school and college he does not have the NBA-level athleticism to make work for him at the next level, NBC Sports’ Rob Dauster said on our recent podcast looking at the draft.
Dauster is not alone in this thinking. Anthony came into college as one of the top recruits in this draft and has generally slid down draft boards the more teams got a look at him. He’s got an excellent work ethic and a good feel for the game, he will figure it out and be an NBA player, but is he a future starter or reserve?
The Knicks have a 37.2 percent chance of landing in the top four in the Draft Lottery (based on the standings when play was suspended), but a 50.4 percent chance of having picks seven or eight. Anthony is not a top-four pick in this draft, and even eight might be a little high to take him. Unless new team president Leon Rose and the staff in New York sees something they really like in him.
Technically the Draft is still scheduled for June 25, and teams are preparing for it, but nobody expects it will happen on that date. It is anticipated the Draft will be pushed back until August or later, depending on if and when the NBA plays out the rest of its season.