When the Cleveland Cavaliers made UNLV forward Anthony Bennett the #1 overall pick in last summer’s draft, many jaws around the league dropped.
Indiana Hoosiers‘ guard Victor Oladipo, who was selected with the next pick by the Orlando Magic, seemed like a sure thing, but the Cavaliers selected guard Dion Waiters the year before. Kentucky Wildcats‘ center Nerlens Noel appeared to have the biggest upside, but his knee injury clearly scared teams off.That left Bennett, who has seemingly done nothing but prove his doubters right.
Bennett entered Tuesday night’s game against the Sacramento Kings averaging 3.4 points and 2.6 rebounds in 12.0 minutes per game and had appeared in just 39 games. He was shooting 29.9% from the field, 20.5% from beyond the arc and 67.4% from the free throw.
Simply put, he is having one of the worst rookie seasons of all time.
On Tuesday night, we saw a different Bennett. He was more aggressive, taking nine shots and getting himself to the free throw line nine times. He shot six-of-nine from the field, four-of-nine from the free throw line and a perfect three-of-three from beyond the arc. He finished 19 points and 10 rebounds, his first career double-double. And he did it all in just 30 minutes.
Most importantly, the Cavaliers defeated the Sacramento Kings 109-99 to earn their third straight victory, making them 3-0 since firing General Manager Chris Grant.
Luol Deng scored a game-high 22 points, Dion Waiters poured in 20, Tristan Thompson had 16 points and 13 rebounds and Kyrie Irving added 13 points for the Cavaliers.
DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 21 points and 10 rebounds while Isiah Thomas had 16 points and eight assists and Rudy Gay finished with 14 points and nine boards.
The Cavaliers are now 19-33 while the Kings fall to 17-35.