Alright fans, it’s time to settle down a bit. I know a lot of you are still in shock over your Cleveland Cavaliers reaching with the number one overall pick in taking Anthony Bennett, but there is no reason to fret.
The UNLV product is much better than you may think. Considering all of the tunnel-vision revolving around Nerlens Noel, maybe you haven’t kept up on Bennett as much as you should have since he didn’t exactly scream ‘number one overall pick,’ to all of the experts out there.
Keep this in mind above all else: This was a draft where there weren’t many so-called ‘sure things.’ There were plenty of guys that were seen as being decent players in the NBA and contributing to a squad as mainly a role player, but stars? No, there were not a lot of huge names in this draft — which made it all the more difficult to scout and ultimately judge this year’s class post-draft.
What we do know about Bennett is that he is a multi-dimensional player. He is a big body, but also athletic. Let’s look at what he brings to the table immediately.
First off, he will bring scoring. Ultimately, that’s the number one thing you could ask for out of most guys you’re drafting who aren’t labeled as a defensive-stopper. Bennett can score and he can score in a variety of ways. His three ball is highly underrated. Last year with the Rebels he shot about 38 percent from outside — not too shabby for a big man.
Bennett, being such a big body, can score inside the paint. He is able to post you up fairly well and take the ball to the basket. Bennett ranked among the top draft prospects in terms of finishing at the hoop with a 1.39 points per play average, good for second best in the entire NCAA.
Outside the paint, Bennett can provide the Cavs with a pretty potent jump shot. Shooting jumpers, he averaged 1.06 points per shot. Again, his three ball comes into play here as well. Taking a closer gander at these types of numbers, Cleveland is bound to get points out of Bennett on a regular basis — can’t complain about that.
Weaknesses offensively are tough to come by when looking at this kid. The one and only thing he could use a bit more work on is his one-on-one game, which as a big man isn’t necessarily a must at this point.
Defensively, Bennett uses his athleticism and 7’1” wingspan to his advantage, making it tough on guys to score on him. Not only is he athletic and versatile, but he is strong. To top it off, he has great body control as well. All of these things together make him a fantastic prospect and will work to his benefit at the professional level.
I understand it may still be shocking to think the Cavs went his way with the first selection, but you cannot deny that the kid is a player and will come in and contribute to the team in a positive way immediately. So do not fret, Cleveland fans, your team made an underrated and very smart move.