In the latest NBA rumors, a former top draft pick for the Cleveland Cavaliers has signed with a new team. Anthony Bennett, formerly the No. 1 pick for the Cavs during the 2013 NBA Draft, is going to join the Phoenix Suns. If the deal becomes official and he remains a part of the roster, it will be his fourth team in his career so far. It’s been a career which has seen Bennett unable to flourish on the professional level. Will the Cavs’ former top selection be able to find new success as a member of a rebuilding Phoenix Suns roster, though?
It was reported earlier by Yahoo Sports‘ Shams Charania that according to league sources, Anthony Bennett signed a “non-guaranteed” deal with the Phoenix Suns. It gives the former No. 1 pick a shot at excelling with a different team even though he’s languished in the league for four seasons now. Phoenix is clearly all about the rebuild as they’ve continued to focus on drafting young talent rather than trying to bring in big-name free agents. That’s clearly the case with Bennett who was a big name when he was the No. 1 pick but has not been so much since then.
With a “non-guaranteed” deal, the Suns can evaluate Bennett’s abilities and determine whether he’s someone they want to keep as part of the roster. If not, they won’t have to pay him an unjustified salary. That’s certainly the kind of deal a team would want especially with a player who has averaged just over five points per game and just under four rebounds per game at the “height” of his NBA career so far.
Bennett wasn’t considered the top choice when he became the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. A mock draft at Bleacher Report had him going as the No. 7 pick to the Sacramento Kings, while Maryland’s Alex Len was considered the No. 1 pick at many mock draft sites. However, Bennett came out of UNLV averaging 16.1 points per game, 8.1 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game, making him look like he had some great potential for the league. It appeared the Cavs thought so too, at least for a short while.
He played 52 games in his first season and spent nearly 13 minutes on average on the court per game. During that rookie season, he had averages of just 4.2 points and three rebounds with 0.2 blocks. Bennett would end up a part of the big trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves that brought Kevin Love to the Cavs for the next season. While he had career numbers in his season with Minnesota, they were just a smidge above his first-year averages.
Bennett jumped teams again for the 2015-16 NBA season when he joined the Toronto Raptors and then played with the league’s worst team in terms of record, the Brooklyn Nets, just last season. He averaged five points and 3.4 rebounds, his second-best averages for his short career in the league so far. However, the Nets cut him during the season, allowing him the freedom to take his game elsewhere. Phoenix seems to have an interest in his potential after all these years.
As far as playing with the Suns, they’re probably one of the best opportunities outside of the Brooklyn Nets for Bennett to pick up some more playing time. Neither team is a playoff contender and both are working to establish their newer young players. The Phoenix Suns feature plenty of talent in the frontcourt ranging from brand new draft pick Josh Jackson to Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender. Bennett could certainly fit into their rotation for the coming season, but he’ll just need to prove he belongs there.
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