Out of Shape. A liability. Immobile. The Worst No. 1 pick in 20 years. But was Anthony Bennett really the most disastrous choice at No 1 people have made him out to be?
Bennett has been awful thus far. A lot of the criticism on him is absolutely correct; he has been completely out of shape and unable to get any kind of offensive game going. Expected to be an extremely athletic SF-PF that could stretch the floor with an inside-outside offense, Bennett has rather provided no offense whatsoever and inept shooting from 3 and inside the arc. But it’s not quite time to regret taking Bennett.
Looking at the lottery this year, no player really has really made a huge impact on their teams thus far with the exception of Victor Oladipo, Trey Burke and, at times, Ben McLemore. Drafting either Oladipo or McLemore would potentially cause some major problems at the SG position, where Dion Waiters is already unhappy with his playing time without a rookie chomping away at his minutes (you could argue that they never should have drafted Waiters in the first place, but that’s a whole different story). Burke has been good, but it would have been hard to find him significant minutes behind Kyrie Irving.
Looking at the other lottery picks, Nerlens Noel and C.J. McCollum haven’t played a game, Cody Zeller is shooting under 40 percent from the field and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, praised for his shooting ability, has struggled from the 3-point line, shooting just 31.7 percent. Alex Len has reinforced that he is about as durable as paper mache and Otto Porter Jr., who many thought would be the proper draft pick for the Cavs, has been perhaps the biggest disaster of all, playing in just six games thus far, and averaging 1.3 PPG, 1.8 RPG and shooting 26.7 percent from the field.
I’m not saying we should be praising Chris Grant for his pick, or that Bennett has been anything but bad so far. But Bennett does have ability as a player; if in shape, he’s athletic and good in transition. If he can get his shot together he could be an efficient inside-outside scorer. I believe, as I’ve said before, that Bennett needs to be worked into the Cleveland rotation if he is to improve; infamous bust Darko Milicic said himself that he was never going to improve without getting more playing time, and it makes sense; how much can Bennett improve upon riding the pine every game? If Bennett can get his personal and health issues sorted out, I still see a player with a lot of promise and a lot to offer to the Cavs. And it’s not like there was much else on the board to work with.