Although the majority of superstars in the NBA are the guys with elite size and perimeter skill (LeBron, KD, Kawhi, Paul George, etc.), it’s become more and more of a league ran by point guards. In the last five drafts, a point guard (traditional or not) been drafted inside the top five picks: Ja Morant/Darius Garland, Trae Young, Markelle Fultz/De’Aaron Fox/Lonzo Ball, Ben Simmons/Kris Dunn, and D’Angelo Russell. So, what does this mean for Cole Anthony? The UNC star and son of Greg Anthony arguably established himself as the top floor general in the country prior to injury, and has held that title for multiple years before joining the college ranks. Now, even though he’s performed at an incredibly high level, his critics are as loud as ever. In nine games at UNC, Anthony averaged 18.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 4.0 APG, and 1.3 SPG with shooting splits of 38/35/75 in 34.9 minutes.
On one hand, those numbers are quite impressive for an 18-year-old running the show for a top-tier college program. However, Anthony’s shooting numbers are still on the iffy side of things—which has been his most notable knock for the last few years. It’s somewhat difficult to find an accurate comparison for Anthony, especially within the last decade. He’s one of only nine freshman guards to average 18.5 points and have a box plus/minus of at least 4.9 within the last ten years, joining Trae Young, Malik Monk, Jamal Murray, D’Angelo Russell, Collin Sexton, Markelle Fultz, Dennis Smith Jr. and the aforementioned Edwards. That’s a pretty appealing group but there are very few similarities between Anthony and anyone listed. While he’s most commonly compared to Austin Rivers, it seems like Anthony will simply have to form his own NBA identity.