The Timberwolves’ future point guard is one call away

Chris Finch, Minnesota Timberwolves Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Finch, Minnesota Timberwolves Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports /

It is no secret that the Minnesota Timberwolves’ biggest need at the moment is a point guard who can play alongside superstar shooting guard Anthony Edwards. The Timberwolves currently have little stability at the point guard position.

Their current depth chart includes 35-year-old veteran Mike Conley, 26-year-old Shake Milton, who has never found himself in a consistent starting role, and 27-year-old Jordan McLaughlin, who is coming off a very underwhelming season.

With that said, the Wolves do have plenty of trade assets with young players that hold value. It is also being reported that the Orlando Magic have been shopping 23-year-old point guard Cole Anthony and want to move him before the season begins.

Cole Anthony is being shopped by the Magic

Cole Anthony was drafted 15th overall and is from the same draft class as Anthony Edwards (2020). The University of North Carolina star averaged 13 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.9 assists last season, shooting 45% from the field and 36% from long range.

From an efficiency standard, this was Cole Anthony’s best season in his young three-year career. His efficiency went up while playing primarily with the bench unit this season for the Magic, but he has started for a total of 103 games in his tenure.

A potential mentorship between Mike Conley and Cole Anthony is exciting to think about because of the similarities production wise they have within the first three years of their careers.

Mike Conley could mentor Anthony in Minnesota

While Conley is the more efficient player and Cole is more athletic, Conley put up 11.9 points per game, 2.8 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game last season. Compare that to Cole Anthony’s numbers and you have two players that were on similar trajectories.

Mike Conley is also known for his leadership on and off the court, with his famous accomplishment of never receiving a technical foul in his whole career (1025 games played). There really is no better mentor you could ask for a young point guard to have than Mike Conley.

As far as on-court fit goes, it should be just fine. Cole Anthony has plenty of experience with two-big lineups, having been a part of many starting lineups that included 6’10 Franz Wagner and 7’0 Mo Bamba.

To go along with his familiarity of playing with big lineups, his fit with Anthony Edwards should be easy. There will be a balancing act offensively between Cole and Ant with them both being high usage players that like the ball in their hands, but Cole has always been a plus defender and should be able to learn how to play off the ball more on offense with a presence like Conley.

Cole Anthony would be a good on-court fit with the Timberwolves

Finally, let’s look at what a potential deal would look like. I’m not very good at these kinds of things as values in the NBA change yearly and it depends what a team’s goal for the season is. I will take presumption that the Magic also do not think they are quite ready for a playoff push this year and are content with putting out a team who will win 35 games this season.

Based off trades from last trade deadline like the Josh Hart and James Wiseman deals, I would put a price tag for Cole Anthony as Timberwolves forwards Josh Minott and Leonard Miller/Jaylen Clark along with three second round picks.

The Wolves obviously get their point guard of the future to grow with Anthony Edwards while the Magic clear up space in their crowded point guard room, getting picks and cheap forwards who are young and project to be versatile NBA players.

Cole Anthony will certainly have a market if the Magic are truly shopping him. True starting point guards that can command an offense for a decade do not grow on trees, so it would be foolish if the Wolves aren’t one of the frontrunners to add him to their backcourt.

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