The Cleveland Cavaliers were not in an envious position at last years NBA Draft. With the #1 pick in a draft full of question marks and risks, the Cavaliers shocked everyone by taking UNLV Forward, Anthony Bennett.
Many pundits believed that Kentucky Center, Nerlens Noel would be the first pick in the draft, but a debilitating knee injury late in the college basketball season derailed his hype train. Noel was ultimately picked sixth in the draft and did not play a single game this season.
Anthony Bennett simply did not deliver for the Cavaliers in his rookie season. So much so that many are already calling Bennett a bust. While I am not ready to say Bennett is a sure-fire bust just yet, he certainly does not seem like No. 1 pick material.
His shoulder injury going into the season foreshadowed what would be a dubious year for the rookie. Compounding with his issues finding a role in the crowded front-court of the Cavs, Bennett seemed destined to fail.
Bennett ended the season with the worst Player Efficiency Rating for a No. 1 pick in the last 25 years (courtesy of Basketball Reference). His 6.9 rating is worse than that of Kwame Brown who put up a ghastly 11.2 PER in his rookie season. Brown is widely considered to be the biggest No. 1 bust in the history of the NBA.
In his 52 games this year, Bennett shot a horrid 36 percent from the field and racked in only 4.2 points and 3 rebounds per game. Compare this to the Rookie of the Year, Michael Carter-Williams, who was drafted 11th overall and finished the season shooting 41 percent from the field with 16.7 points, 6.3 assists, 6.2 rebounds and 1.86 steals per game.
No wonder Bennett did not receive a single vote for the Rookie of the Year award.
Bennett’s play was definitely hindered by numerous factors, but the numbers ultimately speak for themselves. Bennett needs to work hard in the offseason to become a physical force in the NBA and get back the respect of his teammates and Cavaliers fans.
If Bennett goes another year putting up similar numbers, he may very well become the biggest bust in the last 20 years or more.