What Now for Anthony Bennett?

Bennett TimberwolvesAnthony Bennett was surprised a lot of people immediately after his number one overall selection in 2013. Most mock drafts had Nerlens Noel going number one overall; others had Victor Oladipo, Alex Len, and Ben McLemore. Bennett was considered to be a fringe top five pick at best, and certainly not a number one overall pick. Since then, his play has surprised no one.

2013-14 CLE 52 0 12.8 1.5 4.3 .356 .245 .638 3.0 0.3 0.4 0.2 4.2
2014-15 MIN 57 3 15.7 2.2 5.2 .421 .304 .641 3.8 0.8 0.5 0.3 5.2
Career 109 3 14.3 1.9 4.8 .393 .263 .639 3.4 0.6 0.4 0.2 4.7
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/22/2015.

His stats are really unimpressive for anyone, let alone a number one overall pick. Bennett’s weight issues of the past don’t bode well with his getting cut. Former high picks that dealt with weight include Eddy Curry, Robert “Tractor” Taylor, and Mike Sweetney. Even stars that dealt with weight issues eventually lost the battle; Shawn Kemp was cut after he hit 305 pounds on the scale. Bennett has to keep his weight under control if he ever wants another chance in this league.

If weight wasn’t enough of an issue, Bennett also has to deal with being undersized. At 6’7,” Bennett is very short for a power forward. It would be slightly different if Bennett were a profficient shooter, but a 26.3% career three point shot is not even close to profficient.

Bennett will likely get a training camp invite from some team if he isn’t signed to a short, near minimum deal. Nearly all teams looking to fill their bench with players they still think have potential will look at Bennett. To his credit, Bennett’s numbers across the board did improve from his rookie year to his second season, but very bad to less bad is not the ideal improvement. As for what is next, Bennett needs to work on his game and his physique. The short term rewards of signing with a team just to get waived later do not outweigh the gains from hours of honing his shooting, his conditioning, and all of the other skills he needs.

Even playing in a different league would be good for Bennett. Playing in Europe, Africa, Asia or the D-League worked for players like P.J. Tucker, Hassan Whiteside, and even Dennis Rodman, another undersized power forward. Bennett has a lot of options and opportunities right now; he has to decide how long of an NBA career he wants.

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