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2020 NBA Draft: Cole Anthony is boom-or-bust, but might actually fit the Wizards well

2020 NBA Draft: Cole Anthony is boom-or-bust, but might actually fit the Wizards well

The Washington Wizards are likely to have a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...

2020 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Cole Anthony

Team: North Carolina
Position: Guard
Age: 19 (turns 20 May 15)
Height: 6-3
Weight: 190
Wingspan: 6-5

2019/20 stats: 22 G, 34.9 mpg, 18.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.3 spg, 0.3 bpg, 38.0 FG% (6.0/15.7), 34.8 3PT% (2.2/6.4), 75.0 FT%

Player comparison: Kemba Walker, Shabazz Napier

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 6th, Sports Illustrated 15th, Ringer 12th, NBADraft.net 6th, Bleacher Report 6th

5 things to know:

*Anthony burst onto the NCAA scene last fall with two monster games to begin his collegiate career. He had 34 points and 11 rebounds in his debut against Notre Dame, then 20 and 10 against UNC Wilmington in his second game. For a brief period, he looked like he didn't belong in the college ranks, that he would put up Trae Young-type numbers en route to being possibly the first pick in the draft. But then reality set in and Anthony's numbers dipped and, of particular concern, was his lack of shooting efficiency. Shooting 38 percent from the field is a major red flag for a player who will have to be effective on the perimeter to find success at the next level.

*Part of Anthony's freshman year story arc dealt with an ankle injury that forced him to miss nearly two months of games and seemed to hamper his production at times even when he was available. So, perhaps some of his shooting troubles can be explained with that as context. The injury is not expected to be a major concern for his NBA career.

*Anthony is a gifted ball-handler with an arsenal of moves that are advanced for his age. He has a quick stepback jumper he likes to utilize and dribbles well in traffic. Anthony is more of a score-first point guard who doesn't have the passing vision of other prospects like LaMelo Ball, but he shows some creativity on the offensive end. One of his best traits is rebounding, which he does exceptionally well for his size and his quickness allows him to turn those into fastbreak opportunities.

*He is considered a solid defender with the quickness and strength to make it tough on point guards. Defense can be more difficult to project at the NBA level, but it seems like Anthony has a chance to be a positive on that end of the floor.

*Anthony's father is Greg Anthony, the 12th overall pick in the 1991 NBA Draft. The elder Anthony won a national title at UNLV, played 11 NBA seasons and has since worked as a broadcaster. 

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Fit with Wizards: The question for Anthony and the Wizards is one you will hear often with this year's draft class and that is whether they can spend such a high draft pick on a player who overlaps with John Wall in particular but also Bradley Beal. The Wizards have a ton of money allocated to their backcourt with two multi-time All-Stars, yet this draft is deeper at point guard than at any other position.

Anthony, though, might be easier to mesh with Wall and Beal than others would because of the style he plays. He figures to be effective off the ball with his three-point shot and, though he's probably too small to pair with both Wall and Beal in three-guard lineups, should be able to co-exist with either of them individually. Even with Wall, Anthony could play the two on offense and take the point guard assignment on defense.

If the Wizards took Anthony, they could start him out as a microwave scorer off the bench. Though sometimes that is a difficult transition for rookies, Anthony has the tools to be good at it. He would bring a different element with his energy, handle and range.

Ultimately, what Anthony amounts to is a bit of a boom-or-bust prospect. The ceiling appears high, maybe like a Kemba Walker-type scoring guard. But players like that often times level out as a Trey Burke or Shabazz Napier, two guys Wizards fans know well.

On the face of it, the Wizards seem likely to find a better fit for them than Anthony in this draft. Though he isn't as redundant style-wise as other prospects, he also doesn't seem to offer enough potential for them to overlook the drawbacks.

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Report: Pacers' Victor Oladipo opts out of NBA restart in Orlando

Report: Pacers' Victor Oladipo opts out of NBA restart in Orlando

Victor Oladipo has opted out of playing in the NBA's restart in Orlando, marking the biggest star yet who was expected to play backing out.

The news, which was first reported by the Athletic, is a health precaution as he aims to get 100 percent healthy for next season. He had played only 13 games this season after missing a full year due to a torn quadriceps tendon.

Oladipo, 28, is a two-time All-Star. His absence leaves the Indiana Pacers, the fifth-seed in the Eastern Conference, without their best player.

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The Wizards happen to play the Pacers as part of their new eight-game schedule to close out the regular season. Now they won't see Oladipo, who they had yet to face this season. 

Given Oladipo's recent injury history, it is not all that surprising he would make this move. But it also could open the door for other players of his stature to decide similarly.

Oladipo is a star in the league, but not on a team expected to compete for the title. Will others in a similar boat decide not to go? Wizards guard Bradley Beal, for one, is still mulling his own decision on whether to play.

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Rui Hachimura 'sad' Olympics were delayed, hopes to still play in Tokyo next year

Rui Hachimura 'sad' Olympics were delayed, hopes to still play in Tokyo next year

Though he understands the reasons why, Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura can't help but be disappointed in the postponement of the 2020 Olympics, which were set to take place in Tokyo, Japan later this month.

Hachimura figured to play a prominent role for the host country, as one of Japan's most famous athletes and the best player on their basketball team. The plan is to play the games in 2021, still in Tokyo, and Hachimura hopes that remains the case despite continued uncertainty for all sporting events amid the coronavirus outbreak.

"I'm honestly so sad about it. We can't do anything about it," he said on Friday. "Of course, I would like to play in the Olympics. Next year, we'll see how things go."

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Hachimura had participated in some lead-up press events for the 2020 Olympics representing his country in the months before coronavirus hit. But, really, he had been looking forward to the 2020 Olympics for many years.

Hachimura has already made history as the first Japanese-born player to get selected in the first round of the NBA Draft. The Olympics this year were supposed to be another major step forward for the sport of basketball in Japan.

"Japan Olympics was one of my dreams to do. It was big to me. Ever since I started in basketball, they talked about the Olympics in 2020. Then, this happened," he said.

Hachimura should be able to still participate next year as long as the schedule works out. As of now, the NBA is aiming to begin the 2020-21 season in December. That would put them on track to end in time for Hachimura and other players to play in Tokyo.

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