Anthony Bennett was a huge disappointment for the Cleveland Cavaliers last season. As the first Canadian to be taken first overall in the NBA draft, he appeared in just 52 games and averaged 4.2 points, 3.0 rebounds and shot 35.6 percent from the field in a wildly depressing rookie season. While it was one of the worst seasons by a No. 1 pick in NBA history, it might be a bit premature to call Bennett a draft bust, as he’s shown during Las Vegas Summer League so far.
While much of the attention regarding the Cavaliers has been focused on the return of LeBron James and the dynamic potential of Andrew Wiggins, Bennett has forced himself into the conversation. In his summer league debut against the Milwaukee Bucks, Bennett scored 15 points and snagged seven rebounds.
Bennett looked like a completely different player on the floor, showing off his three-point range and also flashing his athleticism on the fast break:
Yesterday, Bennett put up 13 points and 14 rebounds against the Spurs, and showed off some impressive handles:
Via Steve Aschburner of The Hang Time Blog, Bennett is ready to take a step in the right direction in his second season:
The No. 1 pick in the 2013 Draft has shed 15 pounds, as he tells it, but it actually looks like more; he has leaned down and worked hard to gain definition and more freedom of movement.
“It wasn’t really that tough,” Bennett said. “My body is kind of weird. I can gain weight fast, I can lose weight fast. So it was just me maintaining it. Watching what I eat at night.”
Everywhere the Cavs went, Bennett said he was doing fine, biding his time, ignoring the critics. But after his happier performance Sunday, he admitted that wasn’t entirely true.
“Most definitely,” he said. “Just putting a lot of pressure on myself. Things weren’t going right for me. Just everything just collapsing, just building up. I got down on myself. I spoke to the coaches, they helped me out a lot. Told me to keep working.”
Two impressive summer league performances does not mean we should draw any conclusions yet on Bennett’s potential impact for next season.
Still, these are encouraging signs, and that’s already more than what fans can say about Bennett’s rookie season in Cleveland.
What do you think?
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