Anthony Bennett, Freshman, Power Forward, UNLV
6’7, 240 lbs
16.1 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.2 bpg
NBA Comparison: Larry Johnson
Pros: Anthony Bennett comparison to former star Larry Johnson goes far beyond their UNLV ties. The 20-year-old from Toronto possesses the same rare blend of physical tools that made Grand Mama a match-up nightmare for NBA defenses.
Bennett is one of the most desirable prospect this year because of this versatility once the ball is in his hands. Bennett’s range extends past the three-point arc, making him a threat from long distance. In addition, Bennett’s ball skills are so far advanced for a big man his age, that he will immediately be a threat to put the ball on the floor and go to the bucket without much coaching.
Despite his 6’7 frame, Bennett’s 85-inch wingspan gives him the length of a seven-footer. He has the thick body that will allow him to post up/back down slimmer small forwards, yet the skill/footwork to face the basket and beat slower power forwards off the dribble. In my opinion, Bennett has the greatest offensive upside of any player in the draft.
Bennett is coming off shoulder surgery, an ailment that has plagued him since
high school. Although shoulders aren’t as serious as knee injuries, it is still
something to keep an eye on.
What should really have Bennett-backers worried is his total lack of defense. Mike Prada, who covers the Wizards for ‘Bullets Forever’ said “Bennett might be the single most unaware defensive prospect I've ever seen. There is nothing he does well on this end, and those shortcomings are due entirely to his effort. Simply put, Bennett does not compete on the defensive end.”
I am a strong believe that great defensive players/teams are a product of coaching, but his lack of effort is troubling.
Why the Wizards should draft him: He is a natural scorer. The Wizards haven’t had power forward that scores with proficiency anywhere on the floor since Chris Webber. A low-post presence would do wonders for the development of Wall & Beal.
Why the Wizards should pass on him: Defensive technique is something that can be taught. Effort can’t. If Bennett doesn’t have the mindset that he wants to contribute on D, then there isn’t a coaching staff on Earth that can help him.