Cole Anthony’s ‘second season’ shows the Orlando Magic rookie growing
Cole Anthony doesn’t seem like the type who will look back on his rookie year with a sense of accomplishment.
He had some big moments during his rookie year. Nothing more than his game-winning 3-pointer against the Memphis Grizzlies. What followed was an incredible fourth quarter result that defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers.
If newbies are to have moments that prove they can play, Anthony has a lot to offer. Although he didn’t win April’s Rookie of the Month, he seems to be on the right track to form an all-rookie team. Anthony had a very good year as a rookie.
But he knows more than anyone how much work he has to do. He’s open to that work too – he admits even after Friday’s loss to the Philadelphia 76ers how much better he needs to be to manage the game and deal with pressure from top defenders.
In his last 10 games since then against the Grizzlies, the defense has changed the way he protects him. He was under more pressure than ever before.
The only constant for a rookie and a young player in this league: you need to develop.
Cole Anthony is set to end his rookie year after growing and learning a lot over the course of an injury-related season and making tons of promises to Orlando Magic.
If Anthony’s rookie year is any indication, he’s more than ready to move on and keep building his game. He is more than capable of studying his game and watching others and changing and slowing down.
Anthony called his time after his rib injury his second season. And without a doubt, his second “season” was better than his first.
“I think I’ve gotten a lot better,” said Anthony after Orlando Magic’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in April. “My three were a little off. I have to work on that. I’ll fix it, I’m not really worried. I will always work. I went better. I’ve done a lot better at leading the team and being a voice of reason for everyone. I honestly feel like I was in my second season at this point. I had a long break. Came back and got a few more games. I feel like a vet. At this point, I could be a vet. We are a little bit young. “
Anthony for the season that kicks off Sunday’s final game averages 12.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. He shoots a total of 39.6 percent from the ground and 33.7 percent from outside the bow.
Before his rib injury, Anthony scored 11.0 points, 3.8 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game in 25 games with a field goal percentage of 37.5 percent and a 32.5 percent mark from depth (with 10.8 field goal attempts per game).
After his injury, his score rose to 14.0 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game with a 41.9 percent field goal shoot and a 35.0 percent mark from the depths (at 12.3 field goal attempts per game ) in 21 games.
Anthony was certainly given more opportunity as magic made its move towards this rebuilding. But Anthony has also gotten a lot better in key areas.
Learn to play
It’s easy to see his three-point shooting improve. It’s easy to see how much his playing and organizing skills have improved compared to these numbers.
But Cole Anthony is right that his edge shooting and attack have gotten better too.
Anthony shot 47.9 percent in 2.9 tries per game on shots within five feet of his injury. After his injury, this value rose to 51.8 percent with 4.0 attempts per game.
According to Second Spectrum, he scored 4.9 points per game and distributed 0.6 assists per game on 9.2 drives per game prior to his injury. After his injury, he averaged 5.6 points and 1.0 assists per game on 11.9 trips per game.
These may seem like small improvements, but they have clearly had a big impact.
“I think he learned the pace and pace of the game a little more,” said assistant coach Tyrone Corbin after losing to the Lakers in April. “He always wanted to go so fast. He still has moments when he’s a little too fast. He understands better, now he has to lead a team first and then play from it. You will follow his example. He does it better to understand his pace sometimes and sometimes to withdraw. He’s a goalscorer by nature and we’ll need him to score baskets. But first he has to organize his team better. “
Anthony obviously still has a lot to do. He is a newbie and has been burned many times.
That game against the Lakers was an important lesson for the young guard. Dennis Schroder set it on fire, scoring 16 of the Lakers’ last 18 points to ensure the Lakers came out of Orlando with a win.
Anthony, like all newbies, has also been targeted defensively to a significant extent. The numbers are a bit mixed in that regard – he’s got a -1.2 defensive box plus-minus but 0.8 defensive percentage of profits, and both brands are higher than his offensive counterparts.
Anthony said his approach has changed. Early on, he tried to prove himself through a goal. But like all young players, they realize that there are other ways to influence the game.
Slow things down
Cole Anthony responded well to the challenge. Immediately after that loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, Anthony had perhaps his two greatest moments of his rookie season.
Later in the week, he won fourth quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Memphis Grizzlies. It takes a long time to close a game and Anthony has shown that he has the audacity to close big games.
Ironically, the way to get to those big moments is to slow things down.
“A little more patience,” said Corbin after the loss to the Grizzlies. “Trying to organize ourselves first, waiting to see where the big guys are, waiting for the first part of the play to be set up so the big guys can lean in one direction, go downhill and attack and read when he is comes out on the street. He is very athletic and has a strong body so he can make contact and break contact over and over. In Cleveland I thought two of the layups he was right there with [Jarrett] Everyone. He’s athletic and has a strong body and a really good grade on the edge. His pace and demeanor have gotten much better. “
Understanding how to lead a team and be a point guard is one of the more difficult things to learn for a young player. This was a constant lesson for Anthony.
In fact, the magic probably had to throw Anthony in depth much sooner than they expected with all the injuries. You are probably thrilled with the way Anthony overcame all of the challenges.
Anthony had lightning bolts that showed how good he could get. It really feels like he’s had two different seasons – one before the injury and one after the injury.
There are always lessons to be learned for beginners. The game has to get slower for him.
“Everything has just slowed down,” said Anthony after losing to the Charlotte Hornets in early May. “Just whether it was about involving my teammates or knowing when to take my own shots, it really struck that balance. I think all of the free time has really given me the opportunity to study the game, watch from the sidelines, and watch movies. I just study the opponents, our team and see what I can do to improve this team. I definitely feel like a vet. Like I said, we’re young so I might as well be a vet. “
He still has a lot to learn. After those great moments against the Grizzlies and Cavaliers, the defense adjusted their defenses. They put more pressure on the young security guard, forcing him to make more decisions.
Anthony is higher on scouting reports, especially with all the injuries magic has been exposed to, and he has struggled to end his season with his efficiency and sales. But that’s always a lesson for a young security guard.
He’s already thinking about his off-season and what he needs to do to improve.
Anthony has shown his willingness to work even when unable to get onto the pitch. He showed how much better he can get.
If he did what he did to end this season by just watching, what does an off-season bring for this young player?