BRISTOL, Ct – The Orlando Magic selected North Carolina guard Cole Anthony with the 15th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft held Wednesday at ESPN Headquarters in Bristol, CT.
Anthony is described as a competitive, score first point guard with skills to create space off of the dribble. The hard-nosed defender is the son of former NBA player Greg Anthony.
The Magic see Anthony as a fast, offensive guard that might be a good fit to play alongside Terrance Ross with the second unit.
Magic coach Steve Clifford said he watched a lot of film on Anthony and had a chance to speak with the guard a few times. Clifford pointed to Anthony’s toughness and bulldog mentality as two of his best characteristics.
The 6-foot-3 Anthony averaged 18.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game during a record-setting freshman season at North Carolina. He poured in 34 points to set ACC freshman and North Carolina all-time debut records for scoring.
Eventually, Anthony missed 11 games with a torn meniscus that required arthroscopic surgery in what turned into a less productive season.
Anthony was one of the few players the Magic were able to work out due to limited pre-draft access, and impressed president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman.
Weltman said he saw no lingering effects of Anthony’s knee injury during the workout.
“Not only was he healthy, but he was bouncier and livelier and stronger than we had seen him in college,” Weltman said. “He’s clearly been putting in a lot of work and I think he did some things when we saw that we felt maybe would have been tough for him to do during the season.
“We loved everything about Cole. First and foremost, we love who Cole is as a person. He’s smart, he’s tough, he’s battled a lot of adversity and we feel that he’s going to be an excellent NBA player.”
The Magic made a draft-day move earlier, by trading their 2020 second round pick (45th overall) for two future second-round picks from the Milwaukee Bucks.
Orlando will get a second-round pick owed to Milwaukee from Indiana in 2022, 2023 or 2024 and Milwaukee’s second-round pick in 2026.
Weltman said the trade was made to give the Magic the best avenue to fill their roster.
“What we don’t want to do is add players until we’re sure of how our roster’s going to look,” Weltman said. “Roster spots are of great value to us right now. We turned one second-round pick tonight into two future second-round picks, so we’re not throwing it away or anything. We’re just banking it, and that way we kind of keep our flexibility open the next few days as we enter free agency.”
The Magic signed 2019 first-round pick Chuma Okeke, who missed last season with a knee injury, to his rookie-scale contract on Monday, perhaps lessening the need for a second-round pick in the draft.
Chuma has been signed by the Magic tis week and is healthy and ready to play.