NBA

Cole Anthony Fractures Rib, Will Not Return Before the All-Star Break

Feb 5, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA; Orlando Magic guard Cole Anthony (50) drives the ball around Chicago Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen (24) during the second quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Magic suffered another injury blow to one of their young players. Shams Charania reported that rookie point guard Cole Anthony suffered a fracture in his right rib. Although not as long-term, this injury only adds to the list of injured core players that have contributed to a bleak Magic season.

Jonathan Issac suffered a torn ACL in the Bubble. Earlier this season, Markelle Fultz also tore his ACL after getting off to a strong start to his first full season as a starter. The Magic already lacked the talent, and losing Issac and Fultz further hurts their roster.

Cole Anthony was put into a starting role for the Magic when Fultz went down. He was surprisingly poised for a rookie point guard that was tasked with a heavy playmaking load. While his stats weren’t great, he kept the team afloat. He averaged 11 points per game on 37.5% shooting and 3.8 assists.

A Roster in Question

wJan 31, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Orlando Magic guard Cole Anthony (50) drives to the basket as Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) defends during the first quarter at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Outside of Nikola Vuecivic and the occasional scoring outburst from Terrence Ross and Evan Fournier, the Magic lack depth. Players like Dwayne Bacon, Gary Clark, Khem Birch, and James Ennis III were forced to step into extended roles. Without players to take the load off Anthony, it’s hard to expect him to excel at this stage of his career.

The Magic are at a crossroads with their team. They have an influx of younger players in Anthony, Fultz, Issac, Chuma Okeke, and Mo Bamba, but the old guard stands in their way for playing time. They are going to have to decide on what direction they want to go as a franchise.

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