Anthony Bennett has been something of a mystery to me around here at the OPP. We’ve debated Noel, McLemore, Oladipo, Burke, McCollum, Schroeder, MCW, Porter, and a whole host of others tooth and nail, but every time that Bennett gets brought up, I feel like we all just kind of read the comment on him, shrug our shoulders, and move on to fight the next comment battle. As we approach the 5th spot on our big board, I’d like to take a moment to defend Bennett, spark a bigger conversation on him, and try to move some people off the fence in an attempt to not see him slide down the Big Board any more than he has to.
For a quick profile, Anthony Bennett, is a solid 6’7”, 240lb. PF from UNLV that many contend is the second coming of Larry Johnson. For those of you who are like me and are old enough to remember Larry Johnson but too young to have any recollection of what his game looked like, Seerat Sohi from Rufus on Fire described him as, “a less athletic version of Blake Griffin with a consistent jumper”. As a freshman, Bennett led a relatively experienced UNLV squad by posting per game averages of 15.8 points, 8 rebounds while shooting 52.6% from the field and 38.3% from 3. Bennett has been heralded by many as the best offensive player in this draft and as the worst defender by equally as many. If you're unfamiliar with him, I highly recommend his Draft Express profile for a more informed and detailed look than I can give here.
One word: Potential.
I can’t speak for you, but when I think about the future players on our roster, I really like the word potential. I look at some of the players we have and am incredibly excited to be a Magic fan because of the potential that I see in our future. Potential to me says “Hope”. Hope for a brighter future. Hope for success. Hope for our first championship. In Anthony Bennett, I see a hope that I do not see in guys like Otto Porter and MCW. I see a player that has the skills to help take a team to the next level. Bennett is a player that you can go to offensively (which we desperately need) when other guys are having a hard time getting it going. He could easily become a 20 and 8 player who is very efficient. He has a soft touch and finishes at an incredible 74% around the rim (per Draft Express and Synergy Sports Technology). In the next 3-5 years, I fully believe that Bennett will be one of the top 3 players to come out of this draft. He’ll be an important piece on whatever team is lucky enough to land him.
With that said, the reason I think he won’t be the 5th man on our Big Board is simply that, despite his talent and potential, we just have too many PF’s as it is. Were it not for Harris, I think we’d be saying, trade Nicholson and let Bennett learn defense and leadership under BBD for a year or two then let him step into the starting lineup. However, we do have Harris and without Bennett we already have BBD, Harris, and Nicholson fighting for minutes at the 4. My prediction is that because of this, Bennett will fall on our Big Board.
This isn't a knock on anyone on our current roster but if I were drafting for the Magic at the 5 spot given the current 4 off the board, you better believe I'd take Bennett without thinking twice. For the sake of “Anthony Bennett Guy” and all that is holy in the world of drafting the BPA at the 5 spot, I urge you OPP, do not let Bennett fall any further than 5! Just think if you were drafting at the 5 would you pass up Bennett for a role player like Porter? ;)
WWHD: What Would Hennigan Do? I'll tell you what he'd do! He'd take the man who will bring the best results to Orlando whether he stays or whether we trade him and in this case it is Anthony Bennett.
I’d also like to dedicate this post to “Anthony Bennett Guy” too. You’re an inspiration to us all for blindly disregarding team needs and going straight for your perceived BPA. Well done my friend. I wish I had the cajones that you do.