Magic guard Cole Anthony is an early-season candidate for Most Improved Player, Josh Cohen of NBA.com writes. Anthony is averaging 20.2 points and six 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 minutes 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:
- Heat rookie Omer Yurtseven stepped up in the absence of Bam Adebayo against the Pacers on Friday, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. Yurtseven received a season-high 19 minutes, recording 12 points, five rebounds and two blocks. His production allowed PJ Tucker to remain at power forward for most of the contest.
- Speaking of the Heat, center Dewayne Dedmon is prepared to continue starting until Adebayo returns, Winderman writes in a separate article for the Sun Sentinel. Dedmon registered a team-high +11 net rating against Indiana. Despite losing by 26 to Cleveland two days prior, the team still managed to win that game by two in the 31 minutes Dedmon played.
- The Hornets are recalling Kai Jones, James Bouknight and Vernon Carey Jr. from the team’s G League affiliate, according to Rod Boone of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). Boone also notes in a separate tweet that two-way players Arnoldas Kulboka and Scottie Lewis are being recalled. As we previously relayed, Charlotte is missing four players due to health and safety protocols.