For this Saturday’s six pack we take a look at the Cavs’ number one pick Anthony Bennett. The reaction around town and around the country to Bennett’s selection has been widely mixed, but there is plenty about the 19 year old Canadian to get excited about. Crack open your Molson, Labatt, or Moosehead and lets dive into the reasons why we should love Anthony Bennett.
1. He scores.
The game of basketball is in fact all about putting the ball in the cylinder. If you can’t score the ball then that extremely limits your potential as a player. One of the reasons I was so harsh on Anthony Davis last year was his extremely limited offensive game. You can find rebounders and guys to protect the rim at any stage of the draft (Serge Ibaka was nabbed at 24 by OKC in 2008 while Larry Sanders was selected 15th overall by Milwaukee in 2010) but to me a top pick has to be able to score.
Bennett has the potential to give teams nightmares in pick and rolls with Kyrie and Dion. He has an NBA build that will allow him to bull his way into the lane for easy buckets off the roll as well as the ability to stretch the defense on pick and pops with his outside jumper. The deadlier Bennett can be from the outside, the more room for Irving and Waiters to slice their way into the lane.
2. He throws down vicious dunks.
Bennett brings an attitude and a swagger to the Cavs that can be seen in his frog splash dunk against Northern Arizona, countless dunks over opponents, and signature flex after throwing one down. Bennett is fearless on the court and should give the Cavs some much needed toughness.
Anyone who was skeptical about the Bennett pick can’t help but be cautiously optimistic at the least after watching him throw down.
3. He runs the break.
There’s something exhilarating about watching a freight train of a man storm down the middle of the floor with the basketball in transition. LeBron is the greatest example of this we’ve ever seen, but like all humans Bennett lacks the burst that LeBron has. Nonetheless, it’s a hell of an advantage to have your bruising power forward able to ignite the break, attack the rim, dish to a teammate, or even pull up for the jumper. Bennett has been described as a “tweener”, but I think versatile suits the former Runnin’ Rebel much better. He even reminds me a little of Sir Charles back in his hey day.
4. He isn’t a center with a leg injury.
As fun as the suspense was not knowing who the Cavs would choose with the first pick, it was equally agonizing contemplating them taking a 7 footer with a leg injury. Forever the NBA has been enamored with big guys and for years these giants have run into problems with their feet, knees, and backs. Any time you draft someone with such a large frame it’s a risk his body will break down over the course of his career, but in the cases of Len and Noel, both have already run into such issues. Bennett also had some injury concerns in high school and is still recovering from Rotator cuff surgery, but he did not miss one practice or game at UNLV and a shoulder is much less likely to hamper a career than a foot or knee.
5. He’s the most talented player in the draft.
Chris Mannix of SI.com is just one of several in the media who believe Bennett was the most talented prospect in the draft. Call me crazy, but with the number one pick it’s probably a good idea to take the guy with the most talent. I’d much prefer to draft a guy who dribble, shoot, and score that can’t play defense than vice versa. You can teach a guy how to defend or how to be committed on the defensive side of the ball, but actual basketball skills are much harder to develop.
6. In high school he made a list of every player he dunked on.
In an interview with Dime Magazine Bennett says he used to give everyone he dunked on in high school a number, but stopped counting when he got bored.
“I just thought it was like pretty fun to do. It was just between me and my friends growing up in Canada. Just, you know, just thinking about it they were like you should write a list of people you’ve dunked on, and I was like, hey, why not? So it went up. Every game, every game, it kept going. I think I gave it like a year and a half until I got to like 100 and I stopped.” Bennett explained to the media during his introductory press conference.
Something tells me we’ll be keeping a new list of all his victims in the NBA, but for now we’ll continue to have fun with those he posterized in college.