The scorching sun outside Las Vegas stadiums during Summer League can be just as grueling as the heat of the first reactions to performances inside.
With the Orlando Magic having deservedly been questioned for using their draft picks this year on players who could be seen as redundant on the roster, their rookies Anthony Black and Jett Howard have now shown fans and franchise portfolios what their talents can provide.
In Summer League, we’ve seen glimpses of what could be with young guard Anthony Black as he prepares for an offseason, training camp and rookie season to hopefully push the Magic over the top in Playoff contention.
Considered a top-10 talent in the 2023 NBA Draft, Anthony Black’s highest poll finish would be number five. Having a close to 1-to-1 height-to-wingspan ratio, his frame and build similarly match former Warriors guard Shaun Livingston and Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball.
Anthony Black’s most similar talent comparisons to NBA talent would be Josh Giddey, Elfrid Payton, Shaun Livingston and current Magic guard Markelle Fultz. The caller compared his feel for the game and his ability to connect with others to Lonzo Ball.
Anthony Black has arrived with the Orlando Magic and has shown his potential as a bigger guard. What can the Magic expect and who can we compare him to?
With the average height and weight in the NBA this past season coming in at around 6-foot-6 and 214 pounds, Anthony Black will have the physical ability to physically match most of his competition from day one.
So how does Black reach the heights and surpass those he was compared to in the pre-draft process?
Arkansas was one of the worst 3-point shooting teams, so their offensive game plan had to be a defensive turnover machine that allowed transition runs. In the half court, they set players up through one or two passes along with zone-bursting screens, nearly 60 percent of their scoring was inside the three-point line.
Anthony Black has a knack for attacking the rim in Arkansas’ offense.
Similar to Livingston and Fultz, Black is able to use both hands on drives, but prefers his right hand. Anthony has nice strides and a good vertical to help him finish with power when he gets a runway. Black can eat up contact and still finish around the rim, which will help in off-ball cutting situations.
While he doesn’t have the weight to throw around like Anthony Edwards or even RJ Barrett, Anthony Black finds a way to use smart finishes and height to compete in the air.
He is a 2-point over 50 percent like Livingston, Giddey and Fultz. Black made 51.3 percent of his 2-point field goals last year. Livingston hit 41.8 percent his rookie year and 49.1 percent for his career. Giddey hit 49.2 percent of his twos as a rookie, growing to 52.4 percent last year.
Fultz hit 50.2 percent of his 2-point field goals in his only season in Washington before TOS took over and hampered him in his career. He has shot 50.0 and 54.4 percent in the past two seasons from inside the arc.
He just needed to add a pull-up or float game this year to continue that efficiency among taller and stronger trees. But without a 3-point shot, Black’s ability to follow Livingston, Giddey and Fultz’s kind of efficiency at the rim and on mid-range jumpers will be critical.
Black was a poor three-point shooter from anywhere but the left corner, most of his attempts coming from the middle with equal distribution on both wings.
Black’s outside shooting came primarily inside the offense when he got open shots or when he had to buy a basket to keep the Razorbacks in close games.
We may see a lot more threes from Anthony than he will knock down as a vice in the new NBA, if he could hover around Fultz’s 1.5 attempts a game or even Giddey’s 3.1, on even below-average splits it would make him a threat from deep.
Black’s real value will come on the defensive end, where he was one of the best defensive players in the nation last year as a freshman for an elite defensive team in Arkansas.
Defensively, Black has shown the ability to steal, both on-ball and in passing lanes. His attempts to make them match the number of fouls he produces, No. 3 in the SEC in steals, but also No. 8 in fouls.
Black’s other defensive numbers can faint. It’s good to consider that his defensive rating of 96.9 points allowed per 100 ranking, which ranks top 20 in the SEC, trailing four of his teammates.
In fact, the Razorbacks were tied for the 50th best defensive rating out of 363 teams, as a team that ranked 30th in steals per game and 14th in blocks per game.
It’s easy to play the game for both sides of the coin if Black is the good-to-great defender who helped make Arkansas top 50, or if the system made him look like he’s a good-to-great defender . Every player coming into the NBA will have moments where they look lost, but like Fultz and Payton, Black can find himself grabbing more than 1.5 steals per game. match.
His biggest flaw can be seen as his biggest strength, a pass-first guard who sometimes overbites on small opportunities, giving him a nearly 1-to-1 turnover ratio. Black ranked No. 1 in minutes in the SEC, along with No. 2 in total assists and No. 5 in assists per game. game, but No. 1 in turnovers and No. 17 in total turnovers in all of NCAA basketball.
This is one of the biggest learning curves for playmakers going into the next level, you play with and against the greatest basketball talent culminating among 30 teams. Every night you will be confronted with someone special, even if your preconceived notion of them is the opposite.
Giddey, Payton and Livingston all averaged around a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio while averaging more than 2.5 turnovers a game. Anthony’s game will be predicated as a down-the-hill facilitator who uses his wingspan to drive and kick the ball to a better shooting talent.
In Summer League, we’ve seen the continuation of his college career: limited outside shooting, good effort defense and well-intentioned passing, but still ends up with a 1-to-1 turnover ratio.
With this unselfish style of play, he would be an added plus instead of another dribble-fighting ball handler if refined over his rookie deal along with adding any level of mid-range or extended shooting.
Although a young team, Orlando has roughly penciled in its top 5-7 guys lightly, for Black to have an impressive rookie campaign, he will need to refine himself quickly and produce. Black has the talent and ability to make an All-Rookie team if he plays his cards right.
- Published on 16/07/2023 at 14:49
- Last updated 16/07/2023 at 14:49