Everyone was buzzing about the Cleveland Cavaliers on the night of the 2013 NBA Draft. With the first-overall pick in the draft, a spot where many people were expecting them to take either Nerlens Noel or Alex Len, the Cavs got everyone talking with the surprise selection of power forward Anthony Bennett out of UNLV.
Since draft night, though, that buzz has died down considerable for a number of reasons. With Bennett not competing at the Las Vegas Summer League, there wasn’t any hype or even criticism that could come as a result of his play there. He’s also kept out of the media for the better portion of the off-season. Bennett is also likely not going to come in as the starter in Cleveland, softening the buzz even more so.
However, the lack of talk about Bennett heading into this season is arguably one of the best things that could happen to him. Too often, first-overall picks are expected to make an enormous impact right away when, in fact, they need time to develop and get more accustomed to the NBA style of play.
Bennett definitely falls into that latter category. In his one season at UNLV, he was quite productive as he averaged 16.1 points, 8.1 boards and 1.2 blocks in just 27.1 minutes per game and while posting a fantastic true shooting percentage of 60.9 percent. Bennett has a lot of offensive talent with a powerful post game and the ability to stretch the floor. However, he still needs to develop his skill in the post and needs to become a much better defender than he currently is.
The good news for Bennett is that he is going to be put in a position where he can develop in the areas that he needs to. There are very few expectations for the rookie heading into this season and he will have the chance to come off of the bench and grow as a 20-year-old player in this league, not as an overhyped number one pick. That may be the best thing for him and the Cavs.
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