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Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Anthony Bennett

Discuss Draft Dreams on Twitter using the #DraftDreams hashtag.

Info

  • Measurables: 6-foot-7, 239 pounds, freshman forward from UNLV.

  • Key Stats: 15.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 1.2 blocks per game; shot 52.6 percent from the field and 38.3 percent on 3-pointers

  • Projected: top-six pick

Random fact

Bennett had the stereotypical experience of a big-time recruit at a mid-major program on the court, but off the court, UNLV shielded him. Mike Grimala of Vegas Seven:

Not to throw around the term “kid gloves,” but there’s a reason why Bennett is whisked away before reporters can speak to him after practice and has rarely been brought to the podium for postgame press conferences. Like a lot of kids who just turned 20, Bennett is soft-spoken and somewhat camera shy. So if he prefers not to talk to the press, the program is willing to shield him.

And when Bennett’s questionable conditioning led to some notable instances of loafing during early-season games, the blowback from the coaching staff was minimal. Reducing his playing time was out of the question: Why risk upsetting Bennett when the safer option is to let him enjoy his time at UNLV and then watch him smile for the cameras on draft night and tell the world how much he loved it here?

Don’t forget, Rice is a young coach. This is just his second year as the head man, and he’s never gone through the experience of shepherding a one-and-done superstar through a college campaign. Like all kinds of rare good fortune, it’s a complicated business.

Fits with the Pistons because …

He’s really good. Bennett is a better prospect that anyone likely to available to the Pistons at No. 8 (unless you think Trey Burke is likely to be available at No. 8). Joe Dumars has never shown a tendency to reach for need, and if Bennett is the only top prospect to slip, I bet he’s the pick.

Bennett is capable of scoring inside and out, possessing a frame that allows him to bully smaller defenders in the paint and quickness that allows him to drive past bigger defenders for the perimeter.

For all the reasons Bennett scores so well – his size and athleticism – he could be a better defender and rebounder. When given a choice of how to channel their energy, most players would probably focus on scoring. Maybe that’s what UNLV needed, and Bennett can display better peripheral skills at the next level.

Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …

Perhaps, Bennett can transition to small forward so he can play with Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, but I don’t think the move would be as easy as some indicate.

Bennett moves well for a power forward. He dribbles well for a power forward. He shoots well for a power forward. All those strengths become average at small forward, at least in the short term.

Also, he’ll likely be off the board before the Pistons pick – though of the draft’s consensus top six players, he seems most likely to fall.

From the experts

Chad Ford:

Bennett might be the most versatile player in the draft. He’s equally comfortable on the perimeter or in the post. While some will call him a "tweener," Bennett is so talented that he looks more like a mismatch waiting to happen. He’ll need to keep his weight down and step up his defense, but he could provide instant offense for whichever team lands him.

Quick fact: Bennett ranked eighth in the nation with 1.3 isolation points per play and did not commit a single turnover on such plays (min. 20 plays).

DraftExpress:

The place where Bennett has the most room to improve at the moment seems to be on the defensive end. He often looks like he’s only going half speed here, jogging the floor lackadaisically, relaxing in his stance whenever he can, and losing his focus easily. He regularly gives up deep post position to opposing big men without putting up much of a fight, and loses track of his matchup relatively frequently off the ball. Like many young players, Bennett’s fundamentals are fairly poor on this end of the floor, and his intensity leaves a lot to be desired at times. Maximizing his conditioning-level could help here.

With that said, Bennett’s talent does shine through on this end of the floor as well on occasion, as he’s capable of making some very impressive plays with his terrific combination of length, strength, explosiveness and quickness. He can move his feet well, is very difficult to shoot over when he’s dialed in, and has solid anticipation skills blocking shots and getting his hands on loose balls.

On film

8 Comments

  • Jun 27, 20132:18 pm
    by Edgar

    Reply

    What I don’t get about these tweener fours is that even if you have some sort of mismatch where there’s a bigger guy on Bennett, are you really going to just stop your offense and give a rookie the ball in the mid-post to take another guy off the dribble? Is this good offense? And if you’re just going to do it a few times a game, does whatever offense he produces on those touches make up for the deficiencies his tweener status presents on the defensive end?

    Also, why do people assume that that mismatch is going to be consistently available. Power forwards aren’t built like Oakley anymore. Most guys are really athletic and good at defense now. Just looking at our division: Is Bennett really going to be able to consistently beat Taj Gibson, Larry Sanders, Tristan Thompson off the dribble? Maybe, but I just don’t think that’s this huge mismatch.

    Guys like Bennett and Derrick Williams and Michael Beasley have great size and length in college but they lose that advantage when they get to the pros and I think that’s why they lose their effectiveness.

    I’m not a fan, but I’m more than willing to be persuaded. 

    • Jun 27, 20133:25 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      What is a typical PF? 6’9″? So Bennett gives up two inches of height. but he’s still not undersized. He comes into the league as a 240 pound beast. Height helps for shot blocking, but girth helps for keeping guys out of the paint. Personally, I’d rather have the latter htna the former.

  • Jun 27, 20132:37 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    have to say that bennett’s non-existent defense is the thing that concerns me most about him.  i think he will be fine offensively.
    but i’ve never seen an elite level college talent play such lackadaisical defense since i watched chris webber back at michigan.  have to admit that i only saw him play later in the year and he was supposedly hurt then, but it is hard to blame his laziness, defensively, entirely on his injury.  
    that it the one huge red flag i’d raise about bennett.
    i’d take mccollum or burke over him if all 3 were available, but i’d be happy to snatch him – with that one big caution flag –  if he fell.
    he could be the best player out of this draft in 5 years. 

    • Jun 27, 20132:55 pm
      by Edgar

      Reply

      Agree about the defense. Lack of effort is scary. I’d definitely take Burke or McCollum as well. The biggest red flag for me is that so many of these tweeners have disappointed. People thought Beasley was a sure-fire all-star if I remember right, but he’s just awful. Bill Simmons liked Derrick Williams more than Kyrie Irving for crying out loud. I just wonder how many of these tweeners have to fail before we learn that their games don’t translate to the pros.

      • Jun 27, 20133:34 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        Lots fail, lots succeed. Just like any other vague category of players.

      • Jun 27, 20133:39 pm
        by Russell C

        Reply

        is he a Derrick William, Michael Beasley or a more skilled Milsap is the question? Worth the risk since there is cap space available

        • Jun 27, 20134:28 pm
          by frankie d

          Reply

          i think imho, he is very different from all of those players.
          only similarity with millsap is body type.
          millsap is not that great an athlete.  he does what he does more with hustle and smarts than elite athleticism.
          williams is not that offensively skilled.  for a guy his size he is pretty good, and he hit a decent % on 3 pointers in college, but he’s not a very good ballhandler and he is simply not a guy who you’d trust very much with the ball in his hands.
          beasley might be the most similar comparison, but i think beasley was always a more dominant offensive figure than bennett.  beasley was almost like a ball dominant PG in college.  he always seemed to have the ball in  his hands.
          bennett is very comfortable playing off the ball, picking and popping.  he hits the o-boards.  he doesn’t need to dominate the ball the way beasley did.
          (not sure why beasley has never made it.  i’ve always thought it was just his head, not his talent.)
          bennett is a very good ballhandler.  he is a very skilled offensive player and you don’t have to qualify it by saying “for a big guy”.
          and, unlike millsap, he is an  elite athlete.
          the closest comparison i can come up with is larry johnson and charles barkley.
          certainly not saying that he’ll be as good as either, but in terms of athleticism and skill, i think those guys are closest, and i think bennett may be a slicker offensive player than either. 

  • Jun 27, 20133:03 pm
    by danny

    Reply

    I hope we can pull it off.  He can be our 6th man and sub in for the 4.  Monroe, on some nights can shift to the five.  This would space the floor better if we need some offense.  He can also sub for Moose straight up and play with drummond. 

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