Wednesday, February 20, 2013
What could hurt Bennett's draft stock
By Joe Kaiser
UNLV freshman Anthony Bennett is one of the nation's top freshmen and a player projected to be picked very high in the 2013 NBA draft. But could the struggles of one big-name player from last year's draft cause Bennett's stock to slide if he does enter the draft?
Bennett currently sits at No. 2 on Chad Ford's Big Board, behind only Kansas freshman Ben McLemore, and his 18 points and 8.7 rebounds a game are just part of the reason why he's so highly regarded. He's athletic, explosive, versatile and strong as a scorer and rebounder. However, we have to wonder if the struggles that Thomas Robinson is having as a NBA rookie in Sacramento could cause teams to be wary of Bennett.
In Robinson, we're talking about a guy we had many of the same on-court characteristics as Bennett. A hard-nosed, athletic effort guy who put his Kansas team on his back and led them all the way to the NCAA championship game. On top of that, Robinson has two inches on Bennett (6-foot-10 vs. 6-foot-8) and entered the draft after his junior season. The point is, Robinson was a taller, older version of Bennett with a big reputation of being a winner, yet he's managed to put up 4.8 points and 4.7 rebounds a game with a very poor Kings team this season.
Robinson was taken with the No. 5 pick, ahead of top rookie of the year candidates Andre Drummond and Damian Lillard. So the question with Bennett is: 1) can he be better and have a faster impact that Robinson? 2) will a team with a top 5 pick choose him over a player with a higher ceiling? If the Kings had a chance to do it all over again, they certainly would, and we have to believe other NBA teams want to make sure they don't make the same mistake.