Cole Anthony

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Lowry, Strus, Wizards, Magic

By earning a spot on the All-NBA Third Team this week, Hawks guard Trae Young ensured that his five-year, maximum-salary rookie scale extension will start at 30% of the 2022/23 cap rather than 25%, as we outlined on Tuesday. Based on the current maximum-salary projections, that means Atlanta’s projected team salary for next season will increase by $6.1MM.

As Chris Kirschner of The Athletic writes, Young’s salary bump means Atlanta is more likely to be over the luxury-tax line in 2022/23 and perhaps less likely to bring back Danilo Gallinari, whose $21.45MM salary is only partially guaranteed for $5MM. According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link), the Hawks currently project to be about $7.8MM over the tax line, so they could, at least temporarily, get out of tax territory by waiving Gallinari and saving that $16MM+.

Young’s more lucrative contract may place a few more constraints on the Hawks over the next five years as they attempt to build a championship-caliber roster around him. However, as Kirschner observes, the team will at least no longer have to worry about Young being disgruntled as a result of missing out on an All-NBA spot and an extra $35MM.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • With Kyle Lowry still clearly being affected by the left hamstring injury that has forced him to miss eight playoff games, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel and Joe Vardon of The Athletic believe the Heat have to seriously consider whether or not Lowry should start – or even play – in a do-or-die Game 6. Vardon says the team should probably bench both Lowry and Max Strus, who are a combined 1-of-28 from the floor in the last two games.
  • Josh Robbins and John Hollinger of The Athletic take a look at the Wizards‘ future, discussing whether a full-fledged rebuild or building around Bradley Beal would be a better course of action for the franchise. Hollinger wonders if the team missed an opportunity to get a Jrue Holiday-esque haul (or better) for Beal by not moving him a year or two ago, but believes that the best course of action at this point would be to re-sign the All-Star guard, since he could always be traded later.
  • Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel explores what the Magic‘s starting five may look like next season, depending on whether the team drafts Jabari Smith or Chet Holmgren. In Price’s view, floor-spacing issues mean that Cole Anthony may be a better fit alongside Holmgren, while Jalen Suggs could make more sense alongside Smith.

Poll: Who Will Win The 2022 Slam Dunk Contest?

The 2022 Slam Dunk Contest takes place Saturday night and features four participants (betting odds courtesy of

Rockets rookie Green, the second pick of the 2021 draft, is the favorite, followed by last year’s runner-up, second-year Knicks forward Toppin. Second-year guard Anthony of the Magic is third, and Toscano-Anderson, a third-year reserve forward for the Warriors, brings up the rear. Green, Anthony and Toscano-Anderson are all first-time participants.

Anthony and Green played in the Rising Stars event Friday night, losing a 50-49 nail-biter for Team Worthy against Team Isiah. Anthony flushed an impressive lob dunk off the backboard from teammate Jalen Suggs during the game.

ESPN recently released a video with a short sampling of some of the contestants’ in-game dunks this season. My personal favorite was Toscano-Anderson’s epic poster over JaVale McGee, but all four have certainly had some impressive jams.

If you think shorter players have a stylistic edge given they have to jump that much higher, Anthony is the shortest participant at 6’2″, followed by Green (6’4″), JTA (6’6″) and Toppin (6’9″).

What do you think? Who will win this year’s Slam Dunk Contest? Will the electric rookie favorite come out on top? Will the underdog Toscano-Anderson pull off the upset?

Vote in our poll, then head to the comment section below to share your thoughts!

NBA Announces Slam Dunk, Three-Point, Skills Challenge Contestants

The NBA has announced a full list of the participants for its three-point, slam dunk and skills challenge competitions ahead of the upcoming 2022 All-Star Weekend in Cleveland.

Per the NBA (Twitter link), the following players will partake in the Mountain Dew Three-Point Contest, which appears to have outpaced the dunk contest as the premiere event for established stars at All-Star Weekend. Four 2022 All-Stars will compete:

According to the league (via Twitter), these are the contestants in the AT&T Slam Dunk Contest:

Below are the NBA’s announced players for the newly revamped Taco Bell Skills Challenge (Twitter link). This year, the Skills Challenge will be divvied up into three teams: Antetokounmpo brothers (“Antetokounmpos”), Cavaliers players (“Cavs”), and rookies (“Rooks”).

These three events will take place on All-Star Saturday on February 19.

2021/22 Rising Stars Team Rosters

As we previously relayed, the NBA announced a new format for its Rising Stars event at All-Star weekend, which will take place on Friday, February 18. The event will feature four seven-player teams competing in a three-game tournament (two semifinals and a final).

The player pool is comprised of 12 NBA rookies, 12 sophomores, and four players from the G League Ignite, while the games will be played to a target score: 50 points in the semifinals and 25 points in the final, in honor of the league’s 75th anniversary season.

The rosters were announced on February 1, but now the four honorary coaches (75th anniversary team members Rick Barry, Isiah Thomas, Gary Payton and James Worthy) have selected their seven-man teams, per our JD Shaw (Twitter link). Here are the rosters:

Team Barry:

Team Isiah:

Team Payton:

Team Worthy:

James Ham of ESPN 1320 and The Kings Beat provides (via Twitter) the full draft results.

The top 10, in order, were: Edwards, Mobley, Ball, Anthony, Giddey, Barnes, Cunningham, Bey, Bane, and Wagner. It’s worth noting that Worthy and Anthony both went to the University of North Carolina, so Anthony’s selection at No. 4 is less surprising given that context.

What do you think of the teams? Who do you think will come out on top? Head to the comments section and let us know your thoughts!

NBA Announces 2021/22 Rising Stars Rosters

The NBA has revealed the 28 players (12 rookies, 12 sophomores, and four G League Ignite players) who will suit up for the 2022 Clorox Rising Stars Game in Cleveland this year, per its official PR account (Twitter links). There are a few intriguing surprises among the first-year NBA players.

Here are the players who made the cut:



Additionally, four players from the G League Ignite will participate in the Rising Stars Game based on voting from NBA G League head coaches. The NBAGL has announced (Twitter link) that MarJon Beauchamp, Dyson Daniels, Jaden Hardy and Scoot Henderson will partake in the action. Players will be separated into four teams, and each G League player will be drafted to join one of the teams later this week.

Among the rookie NBA players, the additions who would be most surprising ahead of the 2021/22 season would be Dosunmu and Jones, both of whom were second-round draft selections. 2021 lottery picks Jonathan Kuminga, Ziaire Williams, James Bouknight, Joshua Primo and Moses Moody were all omitted from inclusion this year.

Among the second-year players, Ball could be appearing on multiple nights during All-Star Weekend this season, as he appears to be a very possible first-time All-Star this year thanks to his outstanding work with the upstart Hornets.

The lottery-bound Magic, Pistons, and Rockets can boast having the most inclusions here, with three players apiece.

As we detailed last week, this year’s Rising Stars event will look a little different, with the four teams taking part in a mini-tournament and playing to a target score in each game: 50 points in the semifinals and 25 points in the final, in honor of the league’s 75th anniversary season.

Southeast Notes: Okongwu, Anthony, Heat

Hawks big man Onyeka Okongwu believes he deserves to be part of this year’s Rising Stars Game over All-Star Weekend, he told Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. On the season, he’s averaged 9.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 23.3 minutes per game, though he’s only played in 16 contests to date.

“I think I should, honestly,” Okongwu said. “Everybody can see what I do out there on the court. I think my play really speaks for itself, especially defensively with what I’ve been able to do, guarding on the ball and helping. Offensively, I’ve got my confidence back. I’ve doubled my points scoring to almost 10.

“At the end of the day, we’re on a six-game winning streak playing good basketball, and I’m part of the mix, which is always a blessing. I’m thankful to be able to be on the Hawks, and we’re playing good basketball. I think, all things considered, I should get a Rising Stars nod.”

Okongwu also discussed other topics in the interview, including who he compares himself to as a player and what the team’s expectations are. Atlanta selected the 21-year-old with the No. 6 pick in 2020.

Here are some other notes from the Southeast Division:

  • Magic guard Cole Anthony was fined $25K for directing profane and derogatory remarks toward a game official, the NBA announced this week (Twitter link). Anthony made his comments after the team’s 111-102 loss to the Clippers on Wednesday. He finished with 19 points, 11 assists and three steals in the contest, shooting 5-of-11 (45%).
  • Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel examines whether the Heat need more versatile players in the closing moments of a game. Miami has finished with either Tyler Herro or Duncan Robinson in most of its close games, adding offense but hurting its defense. Once Victor Oladipo returns, head coach Erik Spoelstra will have another defensive option to insert when necessary.

Southeast Notes: Yurtseven, Todd, Anthony, Butler, Vincent

With the return of Bam Adebayo (thumb) and Dewayne Dedmon (knee), Heat center Omer Yurtseven has effectively fallen out of the team’s rotation for now, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes.

Yurtseven started 10 games as Adebayo and Dedmon dealt with injuries, logging double-digit rebounds in every contest. Miami went 7-3 during that stretch. On the season, the 23-year-old has averaged 6.2 points and 6.2 rebounds in 14.8 minutes per game, shooting 52% from the floor.

“It’s hard, obviously, because you catch that rhythm and you have that raging fire to just keep going,” Yurtseven said. “But I trust in the coaches and the Heat culture, and I believe if they want me and need me in the game that they know that I’m ready.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division today:

  • The Wizards suspended Isaiah Todd one game for conduct detrimental to the team, the club announced in a press release. Todd, who has been on a G League assignment for most of the month, served his suspension during the Capital City Go-Go’s game against the Ignite on Friday. The 20-year-old was selected No. 31 overall in last year’s draft.
  • Magic guard Cole Anthony is committing to the 2022 NBA Slam Dunk Contest on All-Star Weekend, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Anthony has seen his role increase with Orlando this season, averaging 17.9 points on 39% shooting from the floor.
  • In a separate article for the Miami Herald, Anthony Chiang examines some takeaways from the Heat‘s Friday night victory over the Clippers. The Heat were led by Jimmy Butler, who finished with a game-high 26 points, as well as Gabe Vincent, who finished with 23 points in the absence of Kyle Lowry (personal). Lowry will also miss Saturday’s contest against Toronto, marking the seventh straight game he’s missed due to personal reasons.

Southeast Notes: LaMelo, McDaniels, Anthony, Wizards, Hawks

Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball has exited the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the team announced on Tuesday (Twitter link). Ball was assigned to Charlotte’s NBA G League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm, to get back into game shape. Rod Boone of the Charlotte Observer adds (via Twitter) that the second-year guard was subsequently recalled from Greensboro following the practice with the NBAGL club.

The Hornets also announced (Twitter link) that forward Jalen McDaniels has fully cleared the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols and will be available to suit up for Charlotte in the team’s next game, Wednesday against the Spurs.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • In a conversation with Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, second-year Magic point guard Cole Anthony discussed his candidacy for the 2021/22 Most Improved Player award after a hot start to his sophomore season. Anthony revealed that vying for the award had been a goal ahead of his second year in Orlando. “Coming into this season, that’s an award me and my team talked about winning,” Anthony said. “It’s something that I’d love to win, but at the end of the day, if it happens, it happens. I want to make sure my team is functioning well, everyone is getting better, and that’s a bigger win to me. That being said, I wouldn’t be mad if I won that award. It would be pretty cool to be rewarded for your hard work.” The 6’2″ Anthony was drafted with the No. 15 pick by the Magic out of North Carolina. This season, he is averaging 20.5 PPG on .425/.376/.874 shooting splits, plus 6.1 RPG, 5.6 APG and 0.9 SPG.
  • Though the Wizards opened the 2021/22 season with a red-hot 10-3 start, they have since fallen back to earth, going 5-10 in their 15 most recent contests. Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes that the club could greatly benefit from the returns of forward Rui Hachimura and center Thomas Bryant, neither of whom has played a game for Washington this year. Hughes notes that the 24-year-old Bryant is at least a few weeks away as he continues to recuperate from a February ACL surgery. The 23-year-old Hachimura, who has missed every game this year for undisclosed personal reasons, is currently practicing to acclimate his body to NBA-level play again.
  • The 13-14 Hawks are striving to improve their on-court cohesion after a disappointing start to the 2021/22 season, per Chris Kirschner of The Athletic“I feel like it’s approach,” recently-extended power forward John Collins said. “We need to understand each moment. I don’t think talent, playing the game or any basketball factors are what’s wrong. It’s a matter of analyzation and execution. That’s what needs to change.” Kirschner pinpoints the absences of shot creators Bogdan Bogdanovic and De’Andre Hunter, the team’s lackluster reserve point guard play, and a lack of defensive intensity as the root causes for Atlanta’s frustrating first few months.

Southeast Notes: Anthony, Yurtseven, Dedmon, Hornets

Magic guard Cole Anthony is an early-season candidate for Most Improved Player, Josh Cohen of writes. Anthony is averaging 20.2 points and 6.0 assists per game on 43% shooting from the floor, up from last season’s averages of 12.9 points, 4.1 assists and 40% shooting.

“I think it is a reflection of his work ethic,” head coach Jamahl Mosley said. “It’s a reflection of his confidence, and it’s also the confidence that his teammates have in him to be willing to take those shots.

“But again, you also have a group of guys on the floor that are willing to take shots, That’s what we’ve created and it’s the equalness of each guy willing to want to step in to be able to make the big play, so whoever it is they’re willing to have their number called and step in and make a play.”

Anthony is averaging 34.4 minutes per game (compared to 27.1 MPG in 2020/21), but his shooting marks have also improved across the board. The Magic drafted the 21-year-old with the No. 15 pick in 2020.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

Eastern Notes: Sheppard, Anthony, Thybulle, Morris

Wizards president Tommy Sheppard is “grateful” for and “humbled” by his recent promotion with the franchise, he told NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes. Sheppard had been serving as general manager and also received a multi-year contract extension.

“I’m just so grateful and I’m very humbled. I think it’s a reflection that we have good people here. I’m very, very grateful for all of them,” Sheppard said. “The thing I look forward to most every day is the people I work with, the people and the staff. I’m very grateful to Ted and his belief and his support. I look forward to greater days ahead.”

Sheppard constructed a Wizards roster that’s opened the season with a 10-5 record. Washington has succeeded despite Rui Hachimura (personal) and Thomas Bryant (torn ACL rehab) not appearing in a game to date.

The Wizards overhauled their roster this past offseason, signing Spencer Dinwiddie and trading for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell. The club was eliminated from the playoffs last year in a five-game, first-round series against the Sixers.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference tonight:

  • Magic guard Cole Anthony has suffered a sprained right ankle, the team announced on social media (Twitter link). Anthony will miss the club’s game against Milwaukee on Saturday. He’s averaging 19.6 points, 5.9 assists and 34.1 minutes per game on 42% shooting.
  • Sixers wing Matisse Thybulle will return from a seven-game COVID absence on Saturday against the Blazers, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Pompey notes that Thybulle isn’t scheduled to receive many minutes. The Sixers are still missing Joel Embiid (health and safety protocols), Danny Green (left hamstring tightness), and Ben Simmons (personal).
  • Heat veteran Markieff Morris (neck) isn’t traveling with the team for its four-game road trip, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link). Morris has yet to play since being intentionally hit from behind by Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic on Nov. 9 — an altercation that began with Morris’ hard foul in transition.