The decision to draft UNLV freshman forward Anthony Bennett was a questionable move by the Cleveland Cavaliers. It’s easy to say that now, of course, but it was met with some skepticism even on draft night. The general consensus was that the Cavs would be picking one of Nerlens Noel, Alex Len, Otto Porter or Victor Oladipo, but they shocked the world and selected Bennett.
Bennett’s rookie season with the “Wine and Gold” certainly hasn’t started the way he or the Cavs would have liked. He is averaging just 2.4 points and 2.2 rebounds per game while shooting an extremely poor 27 percent from the floor. His confidence is clearly lacking at this point, and he simply looks disinterested and unaware of what he is doing on the court at times.
He is averaging just over 10 minutes per game and with the acquisition of Luol Deng, he is even further down on the depth chart and essentially only sees minutes in garbage time now.
The rookie needs to get some playing time, or he won’t develop — it’s as simple as that. It is clear at this point that the Cavs have no interest in getting him regular minutes at the NBA level, so why not send him to the D-League for a few weeks to get playing time against weaker competition and potentially regain some confidence?
He even admitted himself on Wednesday that he would be open to a D-League assignment. The 20-year-old Bennett clearly has extraordinary talent; there is a reason the Cavaliers selected him first overall in the draft.
The Bennett situation seems to get messier and more depressing as each day passes. He looks miserable when he is on the bench and looks lost when he is on the court. There have been some tough situations for Bennett to handle this season, including a handful of missed dunks — yes, missed dunks.
On one particular missed dunk against the Philadelphia 76ers, Bennett was so upset with himself that he seemingly forgot that he had to play defense and walked lazily towards the opponent’s basket. By the time he got to the mid-court line, the 76ers’ offensive possession was over.
People say that sending a top pick to the D-League can hurt their confidence. Well, of course it will, but in this case, how could his confidence get much lower? At least if he gets a D-League assignment, he will get the chance to get playing time and potentially dominate his competition. I can guarantee you that dominating lower-level competition would raise his confidence more than wasting away on the bench.