A Deep-Dive Into Cole Anthony’s Scrappy Defensive Play

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Magic guard Cole Anthony suffers right oblique muscle injury

Cole Anthony is not a household name in the NBA realm, but he has proven to be a reliable guard for the Orlando Magic. He is one of the scrappiest defensive guards in the league. He and Jalen Suggs, another defensive-minded guard, have frustrated many players this past season. As a result, it helped lead the Orlando Magic to their first postseason appearance since the 2020 season. Paolo Banchero is the star for the Magic, but his supporting cast deserves a ton of credit for the surprising year the Magic had leading them to a top-five seed in the Eastern Conference.

Cole Anthony Has Proven to be One of the Scrappiest Players in the League

Notable Defensive Matchups From This Past Regular Season

Cole Anthony’s defense deserves more recognition. Not only did he average nearly a steal per game, but he also locked down some of the premier perimeter players in the NBA past season. Some notable names Anthony held under 10 points while matched up with them include Tyrese Maxey, Fred VanVleet, Tyrese Haliburton, and Damian Lillard. Some other names that struggled against Anthony this past year are Darius Garland who logged only 12 points in games played and DeMar DeRozan who scored only 10 points in three games played while matched up with Anthony.

While some of these matchups have a small sample size in terms of matchup minutes, it is also imperative to remember that Jalen Suggs is often guarding the other star guards. However, when Cole Anthony gets switched onto another player, he is usually up to the challenge. In terms of hustle stats, Anthony also had 1.5 deflections per contest, saved 0.6 loose balls per game, and contested 1.4 two-point field goals and 1.2 three-point field goals per game. Cole Anthony may not be the flashiest name for the Orlando Magic, but what he brings to the table in terms of his hustle and willingness to do the dirty work is extremely valuable.

A Bright Future for the Orlando Magic

Anthony has helped cultivate a bright future for this young Magic team. Paolo Banchero is the franchise player they are building around, and things are looking promising. If the team can add some consistent shooting to their core, a top-three seed in the near future is not out of the question. Guys like Jalen Suggs and the Wagner brothers are going to get better. Not to mention, Cole Anthony’s scrappy play helps inspire defensive intensity throughout the team. Considering all of this, one should not be surprised to see the Orlando Magic back in the playoffs next year.