The story of Anthony Bennett – the No.1 pick of the NBA draft that became a bust

On 27 June 2013 took place the NBA Draft that gives us a lot of good players for today, but also one of the biggest bust in NBA history. The biggest name from that draft was, as per today, was the Greek Freak – Giannis Antetokounmpo, selected by Milwaukee Bucks on 15th position. His growth was enormous and last year he was the MVP of the league and averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 and 5.9 assists per game compared to 6.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game in his rookie season. Other players drafted that night were: Victor Oladipo (2), Otto Porter jr. (3), Alex Len (5), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (8), CJ McCollum (10), Steven Adams (12), Dennis Schroder (17) or Tim Hardaway jr. (24).

But my attention goes to the first overall in that draft, Anthony Bennett. He was selected in the first position by Cleveland Cavaliers, a team that was in full rebuild mode after LeBron James left the team for Miami Heat. In 2011 they selected Kyrie Irving with the first pick and Tristan Thompson with the 4th pick. In 2012 they selected Dion Waiters with the fourth pick and now they were looking for a strong and versatile Power Forward and their choice was Anthony Bennett. In college, at UNLV, he averaged 16.1 points and 8.1 rebounds, despite playing only 27.1 minutes per game due to an injury.

So, he was selected with the first pick by Cleveland Cavaliers and that selection was received with scepticism by the analysts. And we will see why. In his first NBA season, he waited for 33 games to score a double-figure in the 100-89 loss against New Orleans Pelicans (15 points) three-times longer than any previous NBA first pick. He finished the season with 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds in 52 games in 12.8 minutes per game. In the next season, he was part of the trade that sent him and Wiggins to the Timberwolves and Kevin Love came to Cavs to form a super team with the returning LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. There, in 57 games he averaged 5.2 points, 3.8 rebounds in 15.7 minutes per game. On September 2015 he was waived by Minnesota.

Toronto gave Bennett another chance but in December he was sent to Raptors 905 of NBA D-League, becoming the first-ever No. 1 pick to play in that league. On March 1, 2016, he was waived by Toronto Raptors because his love for the game disappeared and Toronto were unable to help him to develop. On July 14, 2016, he signed with Brooklyn Nets but after 23 games and 5.0 points per game average, he was waived in January 2017. Then, his European adventure started after Fenerbahce Istanbul signed him to 1+1 year contract. He played 10 games in Euroleague where he averaged 1.2 points per game. Shortly after Fenerbahce won the Euroleague, he was released. He had another two attempts to play in the NBA, with Pheonix Suns and Houston Rockets, but ended his contract in the same way as before: waived.

He’s now a free agent at age of 27 and maybe his basketball career is over, or we can say that never truly began. He was seen as a top talent and chose to be an important piece of Cleveland Cavaliers but ended as one of the biggest busts in NBA history.

Image: SB Nation

Bogdan Vasile Tirc