We may never know precisely what motivated the Cleveland Cavaliers to select UNLV forward Anthony Bennett with the number one overall pick in the NBA Draft, selecting him ahead of prospects who were considered to have more upside and size like Nerlens Noel and Alex Len (potentially even Georgetown’s Otto Porter and Indiana’s Victor Oladipo). Yes, Bennett had a solid (if unspectacular) freshman season in Las Vegas, though his tournament run for UNLV left some questioning his ability to play in the NBA immediately.
The Cavaliers were apparently not so concerned. Why? Likely in part because of the overpowering prep highlight reel you see above, captured when he was ranked as the No. 7 overall prospect in the Class of 2012.
As you can see, Bennett is a very powerful young man. At 6-foot-7 and 225+ pounds, he has the height and girth to bang on the low blocks as a slightly undersized power forward. He also has the range to play in a swing forward role. He’s a versatile guy.
Is he worthy of the top overall pick? That’s a debate that seems destined to rage for days (or weeks and months), both in Cleveland and elsewhere the highlights you see above, not to mention these reels here, here and here, showcase how overpowering he was against top prep competition.
The extended clip you see below shows how he became a bit more versatile at the collegiate level, perhaps because he couldn’t overpower opponents as easily as he did as a high schooler.
After just one collegiate season was he ready to be the best rookie in the NBA? Was he ready to co-shoulder the load of Cleveland’s post-LeBron expectations alongside Kyrie Irving?
What do you think? You can see his best above. That’s some projection to make.