Cole Anthony Would Like to Play for Hometown Knicks: 'I Still Got Love for Them'

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorApril 18, 2020

SOUTH BEND, IN - FEBRUARY 17: Cole Anthony #2 of the North Carolina Tar Heels is seen during the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Purcell Pavilion on February 17, 2020 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Former UNC point guard Cole Anthony is a virtual lock to land in the lottery portion of the 2020 NBA draft, and he could find himself in the top five.

A few teams destined for the lottery in this year's draft could use a point guard, including the New York Knicks, who need a long-term answer to pair with shooting guard RJ Barrett.

That squad happens to be Anthony's hometown team, as he's from the Upper West Side of Manhattan. In an interview with Zach Braziller of the New York Post released Friday, Anthony discussed how he would feel about playing at Madison Square Garden.

"It would be pretty cool," he said. "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."

Anthony added "I still got love" for the Knicks and noted that he ultimately doesn't care where he's drafted. Rather, he wants to go to the right team, one with which he has the best chance to succeed.

"What pick you're drafted at doesn't mean anything," Anthony said. "I'd rather be drafted 17th in a really good situation for myself than go seventh in a terrible situation for myself where I'm behind two other lead guards. It's really all about fit."

Anthony would likely run the point from day one in New York.

The Knicks have tried Elfrid Payton, Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith Jr. at the 1 during the 2019-20 campaign, with Payton having the most success. But he's on a one-year deal, and Anthony would likely be an upgrade.

Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman has Anthony going to the Knicks in his latest mock draft, which dropped March 19:

"The New York Knicks figure to look past Cole Anthony's inefficiency at North Carolina, where it was clear he lacked talent around him and spacing. He still pumped in 18.5 points and 2.2 threes per game, and though his 4.0 assists sound underwhelming, his passing skills looked better than the numbers suggest.

"Assuming new president Leon Rose isn't as familiar with international scouting, he's likely to have more of a comfort level drafting a player like Anthony, who'd give the lineup a new franchise point guard and familiar name for the agitated fanbase to get behind." 

Anthony is seventh overall on Wasserman's big board and third among point guards. He also gave him a present-day comparison to Denver Nuggets point guard Jamal Murray and a historical one to shooting guard Ben Gordon.

Last season, Anthony shot 38 percent from the field and added 5.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists per contest.

The NBA draft is scheduled for June 25, but that would appear to be in jeopardy with the league suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Friday, Commissioner Adam Silver said the league is "not in a position to make any decisions [regarding the future], and it's unclear when we will be," per Anthony Slater of The Athletic.