A case for Anthony Bennett

It seems a case has been made for the Cavs taking every top prospect with the exceptions of Ben McLemore and Anthony Bennett, So I'm going to play a little Devil's Advocate and see if I can't create a case for Mr. Bennett.

There are two immediate objects to drafting Bennett.

1. He doesn't fit the Cavs, with TT already at the PF position it appears redundant to draft another PF especially an "undersized" one at that.

I concede that it is hard to imagine a team starting two power forwards making a finals run with them at the center of the team. However I think its a pretty big mistake to look at draft prospects for a 20 win team and say "this guy slots in at PF and then next year we draft a SF, and then sign a C and our championship team has a starting lineup of V, W, X, Y and Z." Realistically the Cavs are several years away from contention and how that contending team shapes up in the end is still far from clear. How much do Waiters/TT/Irving/Zeller progress? Does one get injured or bust? Can we land a big name FA and fill a position without a pick? Can we trade for an established star?

With all the uncertainty about how the final core of the team shapes up I think the pertinent questions about draft picks boil down to two.

A. How good of a prospect is he and

B. Can we get him on the floor to develop and see what we have while showcasing him to teams that might be shipping out an all star level player (ie Love, Horford, Cousins)

I'll cover A in a sec but I think B can be done quite easily. Here is a list of big man mins played for the Cavs last season.

TT- 2500

Zeller- 2000

Andy- 900

Walton- 850

Speights- 700

Jones- 300

Samuels- 200

Leur- 100

For TT thats 82 games at 31.3 mins a game. He might go 2-300 more total that that but not much higher in the long run than 34-35 mins a game.

Zeller did not produce at a high level for those 2000 and if he doesn't progress a lot in this offseason I would expect them to be cut way back.

Andy obviously we hope to see him play more but he has only 2 seasons in his career playing > 2,000 mins in 9 years as a pro, while playing fewer than 50 games 5 times.

From these three I keep TT~ the same # of mins for 2013/14 and TZ and Andy's mins combined at a similar rate with (hopefully) Andy taking ~1800 and Zeller looking at ~ 11-1200 (~15 mins a game with a few missed games).

We are left with a hodgepodge of players that I think most fans would be happy to not see on the floor next season who totaled ~2200 mins. at 25 mins a game over say 75 games for Bennett that leaves ~ 400 mins left for random D leaguers as injury fill ins or to be spread out among the other three mentioned above.

AS an example of a team that has done something similar recently the Jazz managed to get significant mins to 4 big men this past year (all playing in 70+ games) while fielding a fringe playoff team -they barely missed in the West and would have been the 7 seed in the east and only 2 games out of the #5 spot. They did this without having a single player outside of those 4 big men rack up a PER over 17.

Objection #2- Bennett is undersized for a PF.

Simply put I disagree. Three of the top PFs of all time, Barkley, Rodman and Malone, were 6'6", 6'7" and 6'8". If you consider Duncan and Garnett Centers you could argue that the top three PFs of the past 25 years have all been < 6'9.

Kevin Hetrick over at Hardwood Paroxysm (he also posts on Cavstheblog) did a series on this year on what combine measurements are positively correlated with success at each position. Here was his conclusion for PFs

For big men, increased length lightly corresponded with improving power forward offense, with reach providing the best correlations. On defense, and for centers at both ends of the court, size measurements frequently, and surprisingly, calculated as very-low and often negative correlation with performance. Over two-thirds of the correlations between height and Points Stopped ended negative for the front-court players. There are so many factors influencing effective defense, that the impact of an extra inch here, two inches there, doesn’t prove as a primary means of separation between players.

Long story short I don't think the undersized/Tweener argument holds up for PFs in the NBA.

If you drop the concerns about fit and height Bennett is an intriguing prospect. AT 240 lbs with a 7'1 wingspan there will be many players he can potentially bully in the post (he is 15 lbs bigger than TT for example with a near identical wingspan, and is 20 lbs heavier than Serge Ibaka) on both ends of the floor. His production in college was very good and he already has a decent outside shot which we have seen Kevin Love turn into a devastating combo for a skilled inside big man.

Sadly we don't get his combine measurements because of a a torn rotator cuff, but I think he has shown enough in college that if the Noel and Otto are off the board I would not at all be upset if the Cavs made anohter surprise move and took a guy no one had them looking at.

This is a Fan-Created Comment on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff at FearTheSword

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