The Orlando Magic’s most recent game was against the Chicago Bulls, and the Magic started these five players: James Ennis III, Gary Clark Jr., Dwayne Bacon, Nikola Vucevic, and their rookie point guard, Cole Anthony.
The Magic lost by 26 points.
Orlando is suffering another season of injuries and disappointment. Their hot start quickly cooled into a hot mess, as they lost Markelle Fultz to injury, along with multiple absences from other players due to health and injury all up and down the roster. They just lost Aaron Gordon to a bad ankle sprain for at least a month AND, they lost their best player, Jonathan Isaac, to injury before the season even began.
Been a tough season(s) for Magic fans.
On the bright side, this team is now Nikola Vucevic and their rookie, Cole Anthony, both of whom are fun to watch.
Cole Anthony is currently 35% rostered in ESPN leagues. Please go add him immediately if he’s available in your league, I’ll wait.
Here’s why you should be dropping everything to add Anthony: since the start of the new year, Cole Anthony is fourth in minutes per game on the Magic, and fourth in shot attempts per game. Since Aaron Gordon went down with that sprain, Cole Anthony has been second in minutes per game and third in shot attempts (three games).
Over those three games, Anthony has averaged 30+ minutes, 14+ points, 5+ assists, 4+ rebounds, 1+ steal, 3+ 3-point attempts, and he’s hit his 3s at a 44% rate. Anthony’s outside shot has improved since his ice cold December, from 23 3PT% to 34 3PT% in January, and 44% so far in February.
These are the players who are averaging, on the season, 14/5/4/1, attempt at least 3 threes per game, and have a 35+ 3PT% (Anthony’s 3PT% from January, just to be conservative): Paul George, Khris Middleton, Steph Curry, Zach LaVine, LeBron James, Nikola Jokic, Jrue Holiday, Malcolm Brogdon, Dame Lillard, Kawhi Leonard, Fred VanVleet, Kyle Lowry, and James Harden.
If these recent minutes are Anthony’s new normal, and he can keep these box scores looking like shades of the list of players above, then Anthony isn’t just a nice streamer, he’s a player you should add for dynasty purposes. For the season, Anthony is averaging the third most MPG for rookies (behind Isaac Okoro and Tyrese Haliburton) and third most FGA per game (behind Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball). Only five players who average 5+ APG are under 50% rostered: T.J. McConnell, Ricky Rubio, Tyus Jones, Goran Dragic, and Fultz. Most players who dish more than five dimes per game are 80+% rostered.
Again, Anthony is 35% rostered in ESPN, and he’s currently the second-most important player on the depleted Magic’s roster. Anthony’s minutes and shots should stay up for as long as Aaron Gordon is out, and hell, maybe they’ll stay up for the foreseeable future. A totally healthy Orlando team next year could be Fultz and Anthony in the backcourt, Gordon and Isaac on the wings, and Nikola Vucevic at center. If Anthony’s outside shot is closer to 40% than 30%, then he could be a nice scoring threat alongside some of the other Magic starters with suspect shots.
(Also, Dear Orlando, please play Mo Bamba more. Thank you.)