Anthony Black is a lengthy 6-foot-7 freshman guard from the University of Arkansas. He is an intriguing prospect due to his playmaking and balanced two-way game.
Anthony Black 2023 NBA Draft Profile
As a freshman, Black had a well-rounded stat line of 12.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 2.1 steals on 45/30/71 shooting splits. He was Arkansas’ most consistent player, playing 36 games and averaging 34.9 minutes per game.
Especially with teammate Nick Smith Jr. missing significant time due to a knee injury, Black stepped up as the primary ballhandler and playmaker.
Arkansas made the NCAA tournament as an eighth seed, ultimately falling to the National Champions, the Connecticut Huskies, in the Sweet Sixteen. Black played exceptionally well that game on both sides, recording 20 points, four rebounds, one assist, and five steals.
Black is a terrific two-way player. Defensively he has an advantage with his 6-foot-7 frame and a wingspan nearing seven feet long. Black has a great combination of length, athleticism, and quickness that makes him a defensive pest, as evidenced by his 2.1 steals in college. Black’s size will also benefit in the NBA, as he will be better able to switch onto bigs in pick-and-roll situations. His versatility is a huge bonus, along with his great on-ball defense.
Offensively, Black is adaptable as well. He likely projects as a primary ball handler due to his distributing ability and preference to get teammates involved. His ballhandling, length, and athleticism make Black a tough guard. He’s excellent at getting by defenders and making the correct read to find the open man.
Off the ball, Black is great at cutting and rebounding. He could fit in excellent with a team that loves to run in transition, as Black can get the rebound and initiate the fast break himself.
Shooting is an apparent weakness for Black, who shot only 30 percent from three and 71 percent from the free throw line. The NBA heavily depends on spacing, and Black could shrink the floor on offense. With him on the court, the options are more limited regarding flexibility and players to surround him because you will need to have shooters all around Black to compensate.
Defensively, teams can sag off Black and provide help defense, making it harder for Black’s teammates to score. The good news is Black is only 19 and will have plenty of time to improve as a shooter. However, he may be more of a project than other projected lottery picks because of it.
NBA Player Comparison
Josh Giddey. Giddey was the sixth overall pick by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2021 NBA Draft. He looks to be a steal; Giddey averaged 16.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, 6.2 assists, and 0.8 steals on 48/33/73 shooting splits this season.
He’s a prime example of a guard that can positively contribute on offense without being an elite shooter. Giddey only shot 26 percent from three in his rookie season. But, like Black, he is well-balanced and can impact winning without a consistent three-point shot.
Giddey is 6-foot-8 and can play three or even four positions in the NBA with his ballhandling, length, and rebounding ability. Black’s role will depend on what team he ends up with. But like Giddey, he is an adaptable Swiss army knife who will find ways to contribute regardless.
Giddey has All-Star-level potential if he can continue to improve his shooting as he did this past season. Given their similar frames and skill sets, Black could learn much from how Giddey has transitioned smoothly into the league. Also, he may have even more potential than Giddey defensively with his agility and quick hands.