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Cleveland Cavaliers : Please Wait On Judging Anthony Bennett

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“With the first selection in the 2013 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavs select Anthony Bennett, Power Forward, UNLV.”

My initial response. “Hmmm. Okay… Who’s Anthony Bennett?”

After weeks of speculation the Cleveland Cavaliers made Anthony Bennett their first overall selection. A pick that has to have a lot of fans puzzled, a lot of fans angry, and some probably overjoyed.

But to be fair, no matter who the Cavs took first, the response would probably be the same. Leading up to the draft, the Cleveland media (newspapers, reporters, and radio) all took different approaches to whom the Cavs should take at #1.

Writers such as Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer believed in Otto Porter. Radio personalities, Bull and Fox wanted Ben McLemore, and the TV analysis’s took all sides because obviously someone has to be right. Tomorrow is going to be a mixed bag of emotions for all of Cleveland media, some praising this pick, others bashing it and probably boycotting the team (looking at you Chuck Booms), but to be fair.

Can’t we wait to see until the season starts if this kid is going to be any good before making a final decision?

Did the Cavs need another power forward? With Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao in the mix?

Yes and no.

Thompson hasn’t lived up to his 4th overall expectations and Varejao may have one foot out the door but the possibility of moving either Bennett, Varejao or Thompson to the SF position or even making it a 3 man rotation could provide the Cavs with a physical presence down below they’ve desperately needed.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned, the NBA draft is unpredictable in terms of who’s going to be good and who’s going to be a bust. Kwame Brown (2001), Dwight Howard (2004), Blake Griffin (2009), Kenyon Martin (2000), Kevin Durant and Greg Oden (2007). Point is, Bennett’s future could fall either way.

To be honest, I didn’t watch much of UNLV last year, I know they were part of the overrated Mountain West Conference that got obliterated in the NCAA tournament. Although, they were part of the underrated Mountain West Conference that sent five teams to the NCAA tournament.

More than the ACC,SEC, and tied with the Big 12, Pac-12, and Atlantic 10 for the third most bids in the tournament.

Point I’m trying to make is that the talent pool in the Mountain West was no pushover if these were the results.

Bennett is a 20 year old, 6-8 monster with a 7’1 wingspan. Averaged 27 minutes a game, 16 points, eight rebounds, and one block. Compared that to the stats of Ben McLemore, Otto Porter, and Nerlens Noel and you got pretty much the same exact player as the other three.

Bennett has the defensive presence of Porter and Noel, as well as the scoring ability of McLemore and Porter. The guy seems to be statistically the total package.

So again, I’m asking you all that have radically jumped to a conclusion about Bennett to just take an approach to a wait and see. Who knows, maybe this kid will be the next Karl Malone or Tim Duncan… It’s a long shot, but it could happen.

Either way, David Stern won’t be back for next year’s draft. So that’s gotta be a plus right?

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]

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