Thoughts on Cole Anthony, Kira Lewis, and John Petty

December 1st, 2019 

by Alan Lu

Recently, I decided to take the time to watch Cole Anthony and North Carolina face off against Kira Lewis and Alabama at the Battle 4 Atlantis in a November 27th game, as I was able to see this via WatchESPN. I decided to watch this match partially because I wanted to see Cole Anthony play in a college basketball game, but also it was an opportunity to watch Alabama’s sophomore guard Kira Lewis play, who had been putting up strong numbers so far this year. Cole Anthony had some good and bad moments, and Kira Lewis generally played well, but North Carolina was able to get a comfortable victory on this day. Here are my thoughts on how they and other various prospects fared, as well as how their games may translate to the NBA.

 
North Carolina's freshman point guard, Cole Anthony is projected to be a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. (Photo: Kevin Jairaj/USA Today Sports via Montgomery Advertiser.)
North Carolina’s freshman point guard, Cole Anthony is projected to be a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. (Photo: Kevin Jairaj/USA Today Sports via Montgomery Advertiser.)

North Carolina’s freshman point guard, Cole Anthony had some good moments in his team’s win over Alabama, but he also missed some make-able shots that he could have made, and he also committed too many turnovers on offense.

Anthony does a good job of drawing fouls on opposing defenders, as he will run off the ball that can enable him to get open, and he excelled at getting to the free throw line often. He did not do a good job of making his free throws, but he was able to get there quite frequently.

He also showed a decent ability to score on quick, aggressive drives to the basket. Anthony can draw fouls on acrobatic layups off the dribble, but he also tended to miss tough shots in traffic, as he would tend to force the issue too much. Anthony also can make tough, pull-up jumpers from just inside the arc, and he also can contort his body in ways that get him to the free throw line. He showed a knack for making mid-range jumpers, and he has a series of dribble moves that allow him to create separate between himself and his defender.

Plus, he also showed an adequate ability to knock down jumpers to help space the floor for his team. Anthony managed to dribble right off of a screen to make a pull-up three, and he also ran off of a curl to draw free throws on a quick corner three another time. However, he tended to miss on pull-up jumpers from beyond the arc, and sometimes he would tend to force up contested shots that wold lead to misses.

Though Anthony can make some solid passes and he also handles the ball well, he was quite turnover prone on offense. For the positives, he is a quick, agile playmaker that can split double teams when handling the basketball, and he can throw nice lob passes to allow his teammates to score on alley-oop dunks. He possesses an adequate ability to throw interior passes, he also passes fairly well off the dribble, and he has some moments where he shows very good court vision with the ball in his hands.

On the downside, he committed way too many turnovers, as he had a tendency to try to overtly force plays when he was on the court. Anthony tended to throw inaccurate, long passes that would tend to be dropped by his teammates, and he also had trouble protecting the basketball when faced with heavy ball pressure, which would lead him to get the ball poked away. Anthony also had some trouble maneuvering past defenders and creating separation when taking the ball to the rim, as he had a tendency to commit offensive fouls due to colliding into defenders. He also would occasionally over-dribble, as he was called for traveling when dribbling off of a screen once due to taking too many steps.

Anthony is a terrific rebounder for his size, as he has a strong nose for the basketball, and he would often chase down balls to get boards on both ends of the floor. He is very active on the glass, as he will often run in to chase down balls to get rebounds, and he will sometimes push the ball up the floor after hauling in defensive boards for his team.

On the other hand, he will need to improve his on-ball defense. When I was watching him play in the McDonald’s All-American game several months ago, he appeared to be a shut-down defender due to his range, athleticism and instincts, and ability to make plays on that end of the floor. However, while he is an active help defender, he has shown to have more lapses on the ball than anticipated this season.

For the positives, Anthony does a great job of getting steals for his team, as he will actively look to poke balls away from opponents, and he also will get his hands on passes to get steals and deflections. He also managed to contest a three to force a miss once. However, he can tend to get caught ball watching, which would lead him to get beat off the dribble to allow scores, and other times, he will over-help in the paint, as he can be late on his rotations, which can lead his opponents to score on three-point shots. He also tends to not guard shooters very aggressively, and sometimes he may not even contest shots, which can lead him to allow opponents to score on jumpers.

In general, Cole Anthony was a highly rated prospect coming into college that was considered to be a potential top 3 pick for the 2020 draft, and he is an athletic playmaker that has shown solid scoring skills and promising facilitation and defensive skills, but he has been quite inconsistent in games so far this season. He will need to take better shots and make them more efficiently; he will have to cut down on the number of turnovers he commits in games, and also improve his position defense. Right now, he is projected to go in the lottery, but mostly, he will need to focus on improving his shot selection and playmaking skills. Still, Anthony is a talented prospect who if he can put his skills altogether, could end up being a solid starter akin to Golden State Warriors’ guard, D’Angelo Russell in the NBA.

Kira Lewis is a talented combo guard that could potentially go in the late first to the second round range for the 2020 NBA Draft.  (Photo: AJ Spurr/Roll Tide Wire.)
Kira Lewis is a talented combo guard that could potentially go in the late first to the second round range for the 2020 NBA Draft. (Photo: AJ Spurr/Roll Tide Wire.)

Alabama’s sophomore guard, Kira Lewis had his ups and downs, but there were times where he had some really good moments in his team’s loss to North Carolina. He is a very athletic combo guard that can make a variety of shots, and he also defended well, but he struggled to make shots consistently or to take care of the basketball in this game.

Lewis did a good job of scoring on hustle plays. He managed to score on a quick cut to the hoop off the glass, and he also excelled at scoring in transition. Lewis managed to score on a high-flying dunk off of one fast break drive, and he also ran the floor to score on a give and go layup another time.

He also possesses an adequate ability to score on quick drives to the basket. Lewis has a good first step off the dribble, and he can acceleration to finish plays at the rim. He has a wide array of ball-handling moves that can allow him to get past his man, and he would tend to score when he would get all the way to the hoop. However, he had some trouble scoring on floaters, and he also had a couple of his shots blocked by his opponents.

Also, Lewis was able to knock down a couple of open, spot-up threes off the catch, but he also missed on too many jump shots, as he especially struggled to make pull-up jumpers from the field. He also tended to miss on close range shots off of put backs, as he would not always play under control, and his penchant for rushing shots would cause him to miss on off-balanced shots in traffic.

Plus, he also displayed adequate playmaking skills. Lewis has good foot-speed, and he can quickly get into the lane to kick balls out to shooters, and he also can throw accurate lob passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates. However, he can sometimes be careless in handling the basketball, which can lead to turnovers, and he also telegraphed a couple of his passes that ended up being intercepted.

Lewis also did a good job of rebounding the basketball. He would run in to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor, and he also would tend to push the ball up the court after getting defensive rebounds.

He also played solid defense. Lewis is an active, tenacious help defender that will get his hands on passes to get steals and deflections, and he also can poke balls away to make it difficult for his opponents to handle the basketball. He also managed to close out hard on a shooter in order to block a three-point shot to a teammate. Plus, Lewis also has good footwork, agility, and positioning, as he will fight through screens to stay with opposing ball handlers, and he will contest shots from all over the floor to force misses. Sometimes though, he can be too aggressive in going for steals, which can lead him to commit reach-in fouls.

In summary, Kira Lewis didn’t have his best game, but he is a very athletic combo guard that made a number of good plays, as he seemed to play better than the box score indicated. Right now, he will need to make more shots consistently and take better care of the basketball, but if he can continue to improve his overall game, he could end up being a solid find for a team in the second round, as he could end up being an effective role player similar to former Los Angeles Lakers’ guard, Shannon Brown in the association.

John Petty excelled as a shooter and scorer for Alabama in their loss to North Carolina at the Battle 4 Atlantis.  (Photo: University of Alabama Athletics.)
John Petty excelled as a shooter and scorer for Alabama in their loss to North Carolina at the Battle 4 Atlantis. (Photo: University of Alabama Athletics.)

Alabama’s junior swingman, John Petty played very well, as he did a great job of shooting and scoring the basketball in his team’s loss to North Carolina, and he excelled in virtually every facet of the game on this day.

Petty really excelled at making three-point shots to space the floor for his team. He showed a knack for making open, spot-up threes off the catch, as he can also make them from well beyond the arc. He also managed to use a solid pump fake to draw a defender in the air, as he used a side step to make a three off the dribble.

He didn’t look to score from inside the arc quite as often, but he showed a good ability to draw fouls off of drives as well as on off-ball motion plays.

Also, Petty displayed good playmaking skills. He is an unselfish player that managed to set up a score after getting the ball to his teammate on a give and go on the break, and he also drew two defenders prior to kicking a ball out to a shooter to notch another assist. Petty showed a knack for throwing accurate passes as he sees the floor well, but he did lose the ball on a drive to the hoop once that led him to commit his lone turnover of the match.

Though he didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, he was able to haul in several defensive boards, as he would tend to bring the ball up the court off of them afterwards. Petty also played very good defense. He would run in to intercept passes to get steals and deflections, and he also would poke balls away to nearly force more turnovers. He showed very good footwork when defending out on the perimeter, and he would actively contest shots to force misses.

Overall, John Petty is an athletic, skilled swingman that can project into a 3 and D type of role in the NBA. While he may not be receiving much draft buzz right now, he is an underrated prospect that could be a good find for a team in the second round range of the 2020 draft.

Other Notes:

North Carolina’s 6-10 freshman big man, Armando Bacot played well in his team’s victory over Alabama. He did a good job of scoring in the post as well as off of put backs, and he also drove in to score on a powerful two-handed dunk on the break on offense. He also is a good passer for a big man, as he was able to throw a high entry pass to notch an assist, but he also committed a couple of ball-handling turnovers, as he can struggle to handle the ball or create separation when faced with heavy ball pressure.

Bacot also did a very good job of rebounding the basketball, as he would leap up to haul in numerous boards on both ends of the floor. However, sometimes he would forget to block out, and he also committed an over the back foul once when going a rebound. He also played good defense in this game, as he excelled at defending in the post. He would rotate to swat shots off of floaters to teammates, and he also defended well in the post. Plus, he was also able to jump on a loose ball to help his team get a steal once.

Overall, Armando Bacot is a tough, mobile big man that can score with his back to the basket, and he also can rebound and block shots. He will need to improve his jump shot and take better care of the basketball, but he may be a second round prospect that could project to be a backup center in the NBA.

North Carolina’s 6-9 junior big man, Garrison Brooks also played fairly well, as he excelled as an inside scorer for his team on offense. He would roll to the rim to score on powerful dunks, and he also excelled at finishing plays around the basket when left open underneath the hoop. He also can score on jump hooks, and he also threw down a powerful dunk off of a drop step move, but he also would sometimes miss on turnaround jump hooks as well.

Brooks also committed a slew of turnovers, as he tended to throw loopy passes that would get intercepted, and he also would occasionally play carelessly that would lead to other turnovers.

He also was able to get his fair share of boards to help his team on the glass. Brooks played decent defense in this game. He was able to rotate to block a shot off of a drive to a teammate, and he also did a good job of defending off drives and in the post to force misses. He also would jump on loose balls and deflect passes to make things difficult for his opponents.   However, sometimes he would give up too much space, which would cause his team to allow scores to shooters, and he also occasionally would not cut off penetration when his team would defend drives and screens, which would cause his team to give up scores around the basket.

Overall, Garrison Brooks is an athletic big man that can score the basketball, but he will need to improve his jump shot, rebounding, and shot blocking skills. Right now, he may be a second round prospect, but his ability to score in the paint combined with his mobility and motor could enable him to find a role as a backup big man in the NBA.

North Carolina’s 6-8 sophomore point forward, Leaky Black had some good moments in his team’s win over Alabama. He is a good shooter that can knock down spot-up threes, but he will need to be much more aggressive in taking those shots. He also can score off the dribble, as he was able to score on an acrobatic under-handed scoop layup on a drive in transition, but he also had a tendency to miss on mid-range jumpers and tough layups around the basket. Plus, Black was able to score on a strong put back off the glass after getting an offensive rebound once.

Black also possesses good playmaking skills. He is an unselfish player that sees the floor well, and he can throw solid interior passes as well as pass off the dribble to set up a slew of scores for his teammates. He managed to kick a ball out to a shooter to notch one assist, and he also threw a sharp interior pass to a cutter to collect another. Black also does a good job of throwing accurate, long outlet passes. But he also committed a couple of turnovers, as he threw a hasty outlet pass that was picked off once, and he also was called for a charging foul on a drive in transition. On his second turnover though, the opponent appeared to flop and was not set, but they still ruled it an offensive foul, nevertheless.

He also did a great job of rebounding the basketball, and he excelled at chasing down balls to haul in multiple boards on both ends of the floor. Black is a gritty, tenacious player that will actively look to crash the glass, and he was able to run in and dive on the ground to get an offensive rebound off of his own miss. Plus, he will also leap up to get defensive rebounds, as he will sometimes bring the ball up the floor afterwards.

Black also played decent defense. He did a good job of getting steals, as he will play passing lanes and poke balls away to do so, and he also showed good instincts when rotating to block a shot off of a drive another time. He also would actively contest shots to force misses. However, sometimes he would be caught ball watching, which would lead him to get beat on cuts and off the dribble, which would cause him to commit fouls and allow scores. Other times, he would sag too far off his man, which would cause him to allow opponents to score on jumpers.

Overall, Leaky Black is an athletic, high-motor basketball player that possesses fairly solid playmaking and defensive skills. He will need to look for his own shot more and be more assertive on offense, and he needs to trust his outside shot far more often. Right now, he may be a second round prospect whenever he decides to enter the NBA draft, as he could project into being a backup point forward type of player in the association.

Alabama’s 6-7 junior forward, Herb Jones did not have his best game, as he struggled to make shots efficiently, and he also committed a slew of turnovers, but he had some solid scores when attacking the basket, and he also was able to make some good defensive plays at times.

Jones showed an adequate ability to score on quick drives to the hoop, as he can score on finger roll layups and runners. However, he also tended to play too fast and out of control, which would lead him to miss wildly around the basket, and he also missed on an alley-oop dunk attempt off of a cut to the basket.

He also was quite turnover prone on offense. For the positives, he is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he also threw a behind-the-back, interior pass off the dribble to find a cutter once. However, he tended to lose the basketball, as he would play too fast and recklessly, and he also was called for a charging foul on an aggressive drive that led him to commit another turnover.

Though he didn’t grab many rebounds, Jones was able to run in and dive on the ground, as he tipped a ball to a teammate to help his team get an offensive rebound. However, he had trouble securing boards, as he also was called for a reach-in foul when going for a defensive rebound once.

Defensively, he looked to be average at best. On the bright side, he was able to run in to tie up an opponent in the post to nearly force a turnover. However, he also tended to commit reach-in fouls due to over-aggressiveness.

Overall, Herb Jones is an athletic, high-motor combo forward that may project to be a defensive specialist at the next level, but he will need to improve his jump shot and perimeter skills, as he will have to be a much more skilled, and focused player in games. Right now, he may be an unlikely candidate to be drafted, but his elite physical tools give him a chance to compete for a roster spot in the NBA.