In the days leading up to the start of training camp, the Cleveland Cavaliers received promising news regarding two players who figure to be key for them in the 2013-2014 NBA season. After missing over half of last season because of a blood-clot in his lung, center Anderson Varejao was cleared to participate at camp. Along those same lines, rookie Anthony Bennett was cleared for camp after being out all summer while recovering from shoulder surgery.
Thus far at training camp, the number one overall pick Bennett’s shoulder has held up fine. He’s said on multiple occasions that it feels good and isn’t something that he expects to limit him. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other things that have kept him limited thus far at camp.
According to a report from the Akron Beacon Journal, the Cavs held a scrimmage this past week that was cut short as head coach Mike Brown called it early after an injury scare involving Tyler Zeller. However, the underlying story from that scrimmage was the fact that Bennett was gassed “less than four minutes into the scrimmage” and “was grabbing at his shorts and gasping after just a couple of trips down the floor.”
Obviously being out all summer with the shoulder injury has kept Bennett from being in peak condition coming into camp, which is to be expected. However, for a guy who some people believed wasn’t in great shape coming out of college and is reportedly a few pounds heavier right now than he was coming out of college, this could be an issue.
I’ve spoken before on how I believe in Bennett as a player because of the skill and potential that he possesses. Having said that, his skill and potential won’t matter a bit if he doesn’t get and stay committed to staying in shape. As we all know, the NBA game is fast-paced and there’s a reason people talk about players getting into “game-shape.” Players have to be able to handle the grind of that pace combined with the game’s physical nature.
Perhaps this is singularly due to Bennett being out for the entirety of the off-season, but there’s a definite chance that’s not the sole factor in this as well. Whatever the case, though, Bennett will undoubtedly need to condition himself better if he wants to have a successful rookie campaign.
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