Cleveland Cavaliers rookie forward Anthony Bennett is listed among the top two players for potential NBA Rookie of the Year for the 2013-14 season by ESPN’s Chad Ford. Behind only Orlando’s Victor Oladipo, the first-overall pick in the most recent draft appears to have defensive acumen as the only hurdle that would prevent him from being the third-straight No. 1 pick to bring home the Rookie of the Year hardware when selected by the Cavaliers.
“Like Oladipo, Bennett is ready for the physical rigors of the NBA right away,” writes Ford. He has an NBA body and athleticism and should be able to hold his own. He also is a uniquely skilled big man who can score from anywhere.
“[But] given Brown’s defensive leanings and Bennett’s struggles to guard guys while he was at UNLV, will he even play Bennett much?”
Ford adds that opposing teams will have to “pick their poison” with Bennett on the offensive end, but his 6-foot-8-inch frame (coupled with any potential issues with rehabilitation from his shoulder injury) could prove to be a liability in the post. Other Cavalier top picks, LeBron James in 2003-04 and Kyrie Irving in 2011-12, won the NBA Rookie of the Year award during their respective freshman campaigns.
Several current sportsbooks have Bennett among the top five (10-1) in Rookie of the Year odds, behind several guards like Minnesota’s Trey Burke, Portland’s CJ McCollum, Philadelphia’s Michael Carter-Williams and Oladipo. The last two winners of the award were point guards in Irving and Portland’s Damian Lillard.
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