Photo: AP/Isaac Brekken
Name: Anthony Bennett Age: 20 School: UNLV
Height: 6’8 Weight: 240 Projected Position: SF/PF
16.1 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.2 bpg, 1.9 tpg (27.1 minutes per game)
53.3 FG%, 70.1 FT%, 37.5 3FG%, 60.9 TS%, 58.0 eFG%
10.3 OREB%, 21.8 DREB%, 16.3 TREB%, 27.5 USG%
SKILLS & ATHLETIC BREAKDOWN
Bennett can be very efficient in the low post, and can score in a variety of ways. He has a strong, wide body which he uses well to get position in the post. He does a good job getting low and creating a balanced base. Bennett is capable of powering the ball to the basket, or using a quick finesse move. He prefers to take a few dribbles into the lane and put up a short hook or jumper, but he has shown the ability to drop-step along the baseline or score out of face-up situations. Bennett has the strength to overpower many defenders in the post area, but he needs to embrace the physical part of the game more. If a defender starts the game playing physical with him, Bennett will react by spending more time on the perimeter. He is a good screener, who could do well in pick-and-roll situations, especially with his ability to move quickly and finish strong at the rim. Bennett also does a very good job using his strength to finish in traffic, when he wants to.
Bennett is a good ballhandler for his size, able to use both hands well and looking to keep his ballhandling to a minimum. He is much better handling the ball on the perimeter than he is in the post, where he can be lax to recognize help defenders and traps. He does a very good job using a quick power dribble leading to a finish around the basket. He seems more comfortable going to his right hand than to his left, but he should become equally adept over time. Bennett also has a good first step for someone so big, and once he gets moving, many defenders will hesitate to get in front of him to make a stop. He needs to make sure he keeps his head up once he gets into the lane and recognizes the help defenders. Also, he should work on being able to take a few dribbles once he gets by his man and hitting the mid-range jumper.
Bennett is a good spot-up shooter, and is capable of hitting from 3-point range when open consistently. He squares well to the basket, has a good release point and follow-through. His release speed is improving, but he will need to get it quicker at the next level. Bennett uses jab-steps and fakes well to create space, but he needs to work on using his dribble more to not only make room, but to move to openings in the defense to shoot. He understands spacing in pick-and-pop situations and he is a good option here. Closer to the rim, Bennett has good touch in close and is capable of finishing with finesse or strong at the rim. He uses both hands well to finish around the rim, though he prefers to find ways to finish around the basket with his right. It would be good if Bennett worked on his shot selection, especially dictated by time and situation.
Bennett is a good offensive rebounder when he is settled in around the low blocks. He uses his body well to clear out position and explodes after the ball. He is capable of powering through defenders after securing the rebound and finishing or drawing a foul. With a lot of things for Bennett, it comes down to putting in the effort to make consistent plays on the offensive glass..
Free Throw Shooting
Bennett is a good free throw shooter, with the room to be better. He has good balance, a smooth stroke, with good follow-through and arc. Where Bennett can improve is by having a consistent routine at the line. When he takes his time to get focused before he shoots, he is very good. However, you will often see him rush his shot, leading usually to a flat shot which misses long. Bennett also does a good job getting to the line when he is playing around the basket, but he will often settle on the perimeter, leading to a decline in fouls drawn.
Bennett uses his body well to anchor his position in the post. He has quick feet and hands to counter any movement by the offensive player, and he has the size to play physical. Bennett’s biggest problem is that he will hesitate, even avoid, playing physical in the post, and he has given up on plays when he has been beat. With his size, he should do a much better job forcing players off the block. He also can do a better job as a help defender around the basket, where he can be a step or two slow to realize what is happening and getting to the spot to help. Bennett needs to do a better job being aware on the defensive end. Bennett has good foot speed and lateral quickness to defend players on the perimeter, but he needs to do a better job with his positioning and his reaction time to his player’s movements. When his man is a screener in pick-and-roll situations, Bennett needs to do a better job recognizing this and hedging as appropriate. He also needs to do a better job getting out and making an effort to close on shooters when he is in the area to make a play.
Bennett is very good on the defensive boards, but he could be even better. He uses his body well to get wide and box out, and he does a good job going strong after the ball once he gets position. He needs to do a better job being more aware and tracking the shot so he can find the best play to establish position, as well as making sure he keeps the ball up high after he grabs the rebound. He has a bad habit of bringing down to waist level as soon as he grabs the ball, but before he has secured and cleared out.
Bennett runs the court well for his size, and is capable of scoring in a variety of ways, including from the wing or on occasion, pushing the ball himself. He is a threat running the wing or as a trailer to spot up from the 3-point line, as well as streaking in looking for the lob. If he handles the ball in transition, he needs to make sure he keeps his head up and makes the pass if the defense stops him.
Bennett is a unique, physically gifted talent, but his progression is going to rely a lot on the effort he puts in to getting better combined with a coach who knows how to reign in his bad tendencies. On the offensive end, Bennett can provide scoring inside and out, and can be a match-up problem at the NBA level. Defensively, he really needs to learn and understand the game more, learn to use the body he has to make an impact, and put in the effort needed to consistently make stops. These changes won’t come quickly, and teams will need to be patient with him often in the early years. If they are, they have a good chance at ending up with an impact player.
Draft Value: Early 1st Round– High to Mid Lottery – #4-9
Bennett’s real potential impact is down the road, so his recent surgery for a rotator cuff injury should have little to no impact on his draft status. Teams understand his physical gifts and time away from the game and talking with coaching staffs could give him the insight he needs to make necessary changes.
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