Cleveland Cavaliers fans should not be too worried about Anthony Bennett, despite all of the bad press he is receiving around the country.
Bennett, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, is 0 for 15 from the field after four games and his lack of scoring is understandably drawing some attention. When you are the No. 1 overall
pick, you are expected to be an impact player nearly right away, you’re not expected to go 0 for 15 from the field, including 0 for 8 from three point range.
For Cavs fans, it’s like getting the biggest Christmas present under the tree and then opening it up and seeing that it’s a trash can (that actually happened to me once). But while the UNLV product is receiving some attention for his early struggles, there are plenty of reasons for his trouble and reasons why he could become a big time player and a great surprise later in the season for the Cavs.
First of all, the 6-7 forward has a ton of potential. He has a strong body and a big frame (perhaps too big to start his rookie season) and he moves well.
At UNLV, he played 35 games and averaged more than 27 minutes per game. During his one year in college, he scored 16.1 points per game and shot an impressive 53.3 percent from the field. He also shot 37.5 percent from the three-point line. He’s got range, he moves well with the all and he can score inside and outside. He is going to learn how to score in the NBA.
When you throw in that he also averaged 8.1 rebounds per game, it’s easy to see why the Cavaliers chose Bennett with the first overall pick.
So what’s the problem?
First of all, Bennett went to a team that did not need him to play big minutes and score a lot of points right away. The Wine and Gold are fairly deep in the post, so Bennett has time to learn the NBA game, get stronger and in better shape, and become a solid player. He already showed in the preseason that he can score when called upon, and as the season progresses he is going to become more of a force for the Cavs.
Fans also need to remember that Bennett had shoulder surgery earlier this year and missed the summer workouts while he was recovering. He came into the preseason camp out of shape and is still working to get into NBA shape.
In addition, Head Coach Mike Brown is not known for playing rookies big minutes, so it is unlikely that he had many plans for Bennett early in the season anyway.
Finally, Bennett is probably playing with more pressure on him than he ever has before. The Canadian was able to have a fairly small national presence during his one year at UNLV, but now NBA fans know that he was the No. 1 pick so there is a spotlight on him. With all of the national stories floating around about his lack of scoring so far, there is no doubt that he is feeling some pressure.
Fans need to give Bennett some time.
He is going to come along slowly in November and December, but watch for him to have some big games in January and as the season continues. He’ll find his way in the offense and put up some 20 point nights before the season is over. He has the opportunity to become a very good scorer in the NBA and a solid player in the post for the Wine and Gold.
The Cavs knew what they were doing when they chose Bennett No. 1, he just needs a little time to show NBA fans why he was the top pick.