Anthony Bennett has been a little bit of a media darling at this year’s Las Vegas Summer League. After missing last year’s event following shoulder surgery, he’s had a hot start in the Cavs’ first two games this weekend.
After the game, head coach David Blatt was asked several questions about Bennett’s performance. He even joked “What is this, the Anthony Bennett show?” You can view the entire video on Cavs.com. Below are the quotes about Bennett specifically.
“I didn’t think (Bennett) played badly (Friday). I just think today like the rest of the guys having played a game before and getting those jitters out of their system, and being a little bit more patient, and not over-doing things, they all looked better. AB has been good since day one, since I came. He’s really working hard to get himself in shape. He’s really, really trying to do a lot of different things on the court to help the team win and not being under pressure to do one thing, just to stay on the floor. It’s a work in progress, but he’s doing a great job and I hope he continues with the same passion.”
“Anthony has the ability to do a lot of things, he can play with his face to the basket, with his back to the basket. I think it’s very important that he feels comfortable and that he tries not to hurry. As long as he lets the game come to him, as long as he makes good decisions, he’s in a good place like he was today. And you know what, people? Everybody at the end of the game, they always look, ‘Well, how many did he score?’ Guy had 14 rebounds. You get 14 rebounds, you got a place to play.”
“I came in and Anthony also came in with a clean slate. Physically, as I said, he’s really worked hard and I think that’s the most important thing for him to get in shape to be the kind of player that he can be. Last year is in the past. We’re looking ahead and I really believe and hope that Anthony can be a big part of what’s ahead.”
“Anthony can shoot the three-point shot. I don’t think he needs to take eight a game, but when he’s got a good look and he’s in rhythm and he’s comfortable, it’s definitely a part of his game, yes.”
Let the Anthony Bennett hype train begin. Hardwood Paroxysm’s Scott Rafferty is one of the many to already write about Bennett’s early performance. It’s nearly impossible not to get even mildly excited about these two games and how Bennett might emerge into hopefully a rotation player.
Yes, it’s the Las Vegas Summer League, a circuit known for its open-court highlights and statistics that don’t translate too well to real NBA basketball. But Bennett was atrocious in 2013-14. He wouldn’t have been a rotation-caliber player for any NBA team. Progress is progress, however mild. Losing 25 pounds was exciting; seeing Bennett play like this and hearing Blatt talk about Bennett like this is really, really, really exciting.
Photo via Ben Golliver on Twitter