RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Anthony BennettPosted by BHayes on June 25th, 2013
The NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 27, in Brooklyn. As we have done for the last several years, RTC will provide comprehensive breakdowns of 20 of the top collegians most likely to hear his name called by David Stern in the first round on draft night. We’ll generally work backwards and work our way up into the lottery as June progresses. As an added bonus, we’ll also bring you a scouting take fromNBADraft.net’s Aran Smith at the bottom of each player evaluation. This post was contributed by RTC’s Bennet Hayes. He can be found on Twitter @HoopsTraveler.
Player Name: Anthony Bennett
Height/Weight: 6’7”/240 lbs.
NBA Position: Power Forward
Projected Draft Range: Top 5-10
Overview: Anthony Bennett needed just one season at UNLV to prove he was ready for the next level. Dave Rice assembled an amazing collection of talent in Vegas this past season, and despite the team failing to find success commensurate with the sum of those pieces, their freshman star rarely failed to impress. Bennett averaged 16 points and eight rebounds per game in a brutal Mountain West Conference last season, and proved equally capable of stepping out and knocking down the three (over one make per game on 38% shooting) as he was throwing down a thunderous dunk down low (there were 42 of those). He is slightly undersized for a post at 6’7”, but a 7’1” wingspan and great athleticism eases any concerns about Bennett finding a home down low in the NBA. A shoulder injury has limited his recent availability, keeping him out of the combine, but the injury itself should not be an issue moving forward. Of more concern is the fact that Bennett has put on some 20 pounds since the end of the season – one of the few red flags (albeit a small one) for a player many consider to be the most talented in the entire draft. The top of the 2013 NBA Draft class has taken its share of pummeling over the last two months, and in most regards, deservedly so. In a draft devoid of elite talent, Bennett is one player with explosive, exciting upside – something college basketball fans bore witness to last season.
Will Translate to the NBA: Bennett often looked like a man among boys in the college ranks last season, where he was at his ferocious best grabbing rebounds and attacking the rim. While he is undersized for an NBA power forward at 6’7”, don’t expect that to stop him from having a similar impact on NBA backboards. His motor is nonstop, and he shows no fear around the rim. And let’s not forget about the massive wingspan, freakish athleticism, and soft hands that make him such an efficient finisher. We can’t be sure if he will be ready to guard in the league from day one, but his raw tools and polished finishing ability should allow him to have an offensive impact from the get-go.
Needs Work: There are few holes in Bennett’s game, but at 6’7” it would be a nice bonus if he could work on his perimeter game – on both ends. Bennett struggles to defend on the perimeter at this point, which will make it difficult for his future NBA team to trust him to guard small forwards. More focus on that side of the ball (as is the case with so many young players) also would not hurt. On the offensive side of things, Bennett can step out and stretch the floor with his jump shot, but his ball-handling has a ways to go if he is to see future minutes as a three in the league. At this point he is not the kind of player capable of putting the ball on the floor on the perimeter and slashing to the rim. Improving his arsenal of post moves should also be on the agenda for Bennett; as a man-child in college he was able to overpower opponents most of the time, so he will need to develop some go-to moves down low to score against NBA-level competition.
Best Case Scenario: Bennett’s explosive athleticism, paired with his ability to step out and shoot the three-point shot, leaves him with one of the highest ceilings in this draft class. A familiar refrain among draftniks has been that if Bennett were 6’10”, he would be a no-brainer to be the top selection in this draft. This truth speaks to the point that Bennett has a chance to be really special. Injury concerns and maturity questions must be resolved, but if the one-and-doner from UNLV can continue to grow his game, there is no doubt that Bennett is capable of becoming one of the best power forwards in the NBA.
Best NBA Fit: Bennett should come off the board somewhere in the top 10. The Washington Wizards at #3 are said to like Bennett, and he would make for an intriguing insertion onto a front line in Washington that lacks sizzle. Ditto for the team selecting after the Wiz — the Charlotte Bobcats at #4 could badly use Bennett’s athleticism and upside to improve their roster. Further down the line, the Detroit Pistons at #8 would love to see Bennett fall to them, as his addition would round out a young, explosive frontcourt with Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe.
Scout’s Take (from NBADraft.net): “What grabs your attention about Bennett is his focus and intensity… Imposing physical specimen. Huge hands, wide shoulders and an enormous wingspan gives him great ability to dunk the ball with power… He’s very athletic, long, quick & fast. Able to overpower smaller defenders & bigger defenders get “outquicked” and often dunked on… Bennett is best at the power game in the paint, where at least 70% of his scoring total comes from… Somewhat of a “tweener” as he is slightly undersized for a full time PF (though that’s likely his future position) and slow defensively to play the SF position.”