Don’t look now, but maybe some people should actually go out on a limb and pick the first pick in the draft for rookie of the year.
No I’m serious, on all the ESPN boards and on NBA.com, there has been no mention of Anthony Bennett of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the unlikely the first pick in the NBA draft. Other than Chad Ford, who is ESPN’s resident guru on talent, no one has him even in their top five for the overall top rookie honors.
A potential no-show at the NBA Summer Leagues, which showcases rookies and second-year players against NBA castaways and former college stars, is a gigantic reason for the slight. Bennett failed to participate due to a shoulder injury that has him ready to suit up by the time camp arrives.
Olynyk and Oladipo will put up numbers because as the old saying goes, “Even on bad teams, someone has to score.” Bennett however will have the aid of one of the best young point guards in the league in Kyrie Irving and a big man who is a force to be reckoned with when healthy in Andrew Bynum. He will not be asked to carry the load on a team that has playoff aspirations this season.
Bennett also has the physical tools to compete right away in this league. A man-child at UNLV at a legitimate 6-foot-8 with good athleticism, he drew comparisons to another UNLV standout, Larry Johnson. Add in his deft touch from the perimeter and animal-like tendencies around the basket, and the Central Division may have a problem on its hands.
So I know Oladipo will be put in a position to compete with the likes of Tobias Harris and Maurice Harkless of Orlando, and Kelly Olynyk will draw comparisons to Kevin McHale in Boston. I also see the Philadelphia 76ers trumpeting their two rookies’ progress as they compete to not have the worst record ever.
The rookie in the best position to aid in his team’s success is Anthony Bennett, so look out for him.