RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Keith Benson

Posted by rtmsf on May 20th, 2011

Over the course of the next month until the NBA Draft on June 23, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night.  There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.

Player Name: Keith Benson

School: Oakland

Height/Weight: 6’11/230 lbs.

NBA Position: Power Forward/Center

Projected Draft Range: Early second round

Overview: Not only the top player hailing from the Summit League, but also one of the best mid-major talents throughout the course of the season, Keith Benson led the Oakland Golden Grizzlies to two straight conference championships and a near upset of 4th-seeded Texas in this year’s NCAA Tournament. The ultra-athletic and versatile forward from Michigan posed numerous match-up problems for the opposition this year as he was the main reason Oakland was an offensive juggernaut averaging 85.5 points per game. It is not all too often that the Summit League turns out legitimate NBA prospects, but not too long ago IUPUI also sent George Hill to the League as the San Antonio Spurs selected him with the 26th pick in the 2008 draft. One of the most decorated players in Oakland history, Benson has averaged a double-double the past two seasons averaging 18 and 10 this year, and 17 and 10.5 in the 2009-10 campaign. After Oakland’s upset victory over Tennessee last December—Benson poured in 26 points and corralled 10 rebounds—the Golden Grizz and Benson made a real splash onto the national scene. Even though they came up just short against Texas on the national stage, Benson will have his time to shine many more times at the next level.

Benson is Still a Bit Unknown at This Point

Will Translate to the NBA: Benson is one of the most athletic big men in this year’s draft as he runs the floor like a small forward and has the leaping ability to alter and block shots. He blocked 3.6 shots per game this past season, and no doubt altered many more along the way. Although he was a great scorer in college, his role in the NBA will be more on the defensive and rebounding ends.

Needs Work: Even though he stands just shy of seven feet, Benson must bulk up and put on some weight in order to become a legitimate presence in the post. His athleticism will certainly benefit him while on defense, but this is a double-edged sword as he will get pushed around in the paint. Benson has also been criticized by some for taking possessions off on the defensive end—if defense and rebounding is where he will be most effective, this certainly has to change.

Comparison Players: Jason Thompson of the Sacramento Kings parallels Benson. Both hail from schools that are rather unknown in the basketball world—Thompson coming from tiny Rider University—but they have the ability to play with the best of them out there. Like Benson, Thompson stands at 6’11 and is one of the more athletic power forwards in the League.

Best Case Scenario: Benson continues to develop and grow into his large frame in order to become more than just a role player off the bench who spells the starting forward for a few minutes. With an improved mid-range game, he has the ability to become a true offensive threat that frustrates the opposition due to the many weapons he has in his offensive arsenal.

2014 Projection: Benson has put on 20 pounds of good weight, is a more polished offensive player that can step out and hit the 15-footer more consistently, and is a rebounding machine with his hustle and athleticism. He may not be putting up All-Star caliber numbers, but his teammates and those who closely follow him understand what an important role he plays as he does “all the little things” throughout the course of a game.

Best NBA Fit: After watching the Boston Celtics struggle after parting ways with Kendrick Perkins, and with Shaq no longer his old, dominant self, Keith Benson would be a great fit for the Cs. Benson would complement Kevin Garnett very nicely and would fit in well with the Celtics’ fluid offensive system. Because Doc Rivers is a defensive-minded coach, Benson’s success with Boston would be predicated on an improved defensive game.

Scout’s Take (Chris Denker from Netscouts Basketball): “long, looks the part, on the all-airport team… but not as skilled as you would like… poor defender and weak physically given his size.” 

rtmsf (3998 Posts)

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5 responses to “RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Keith Benson”

  1. Ryan says:

    Who is Chris Denker?

    It’s obvious that Chris has not seen Benson play in college at all. The physically weak part is easy to tell given his frame…but Denker gets it wrong with his other two “takes”.

  2. Mike says:

    Yeah I agree w/ Ryan, you’ve obviously never seen Benson play. Mark my word w/i 2 years his role will be a scorer in the NBA! He’s a good defender & an excellent shot blocker, but he’s too good offensively to be relegated to just be a defender. I see him as more of a poor man’s LaMarcus Aldridge. He can score from anywhere on the court including the college 3pt line where he shot 40% from this past season. He can score w/ either hand & is as agile as they come as a big. He does need to bulk up, but that will come.

  3. if being in the top 3 in shot blocking & averaging over 10 boards the last 2 years is poor defending, who is a better defender in this draft?

    during the past few days at the combine, kito had the highest vertical leap & is a good 2 inches taller then kanter. kanter also refuses to do any one on one drills with anyone per his agent. i realize not seeing kanter play for the last year has people salivating to see what he can do, but kito has tangible skills & results to prove he is a lot closer to being a top 3 center in this years draft then a 2nd round draft pick like some of these uninformed draft “experts” have been saying.

  4. Ryan says:

    And the “not as skilled as you would like part”…that’s total rubbish. Solid jump shooter, can drive to the hoop, nice dribbling skills for 6’11 dude (he was a guard before he shot up 6 inches or so). Pretty good with either hand. Multiple post moves, uses glass well.

    All I can think of is that Denker’s comments were meant for another player and they were posted here by mistake…RTC, I hope that’s true, or this fine site has lost a lot of credibility with this “scout’s take” trash.

  5. rtmsf says:

    It’s just one scout’s opinion, not the entire world’s. He did 35 of these for us, so the odds are probably pretty good some folks are going to disagree with several of his takes. I don’t think it destroys the credibility of the entire site by putting a few comments at the end from someone who does this sort of thing for a living.

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