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Mike Brown considering moving Anthony Bennett to small forward

Everything we were told in the preseason was a lie. Deception is everywhere, and changes are coming.

Jared Wickerham

Reports have been coming in suggesting that Mike Brown will consider moving Anthony Bennett to small forward, possibly even in the starting lineup. Anthony Bennett has had one of the worst starts to an NBA season in the history of #1 overall picks, so clearly the Cavaliers are looking to find a way to get him going and increase his confidence.

Here's why I believe there is a chance that this idea may work out:

  • The small forward position within the Cavaliers offense has typically been asked not to put the ball on the floor this season. Any time Alonzo Gee or Earl Clark start to dribble, disaster has usually followed. Anthony Bennett does not possess the quickness to blow by defenders at SF at this time in his career. But defenders are going to have to honor his 3 point shot. Even though he has not hit it at a consistent rate this season, teams are not going to give him wide open looks from the corner. Anthony Bennett has only attempted one three pointer from each corner so far this season. These three point looks are much easier to knock down than the long ones from the top of the arc he's been shooting all season. If the defense doesn't honor his shot from the corner, I'll live with him taking wide open corner threes. If they close out, well then it creates floor spacing and he (hopefully) swings the ball. If they try to deny the pass to him, then it might create opportunities for him to make baseline cuts to the basket for easier looks.
  • Starting Anthony Bennett would mean he's playing alongside Andrew Bynum and Tristan Thompson. When he gets blown by on the perimeter (trust me, he will), the opposition would be driving right into our two best paint defenders. As long as Bennett is in position for force his man off the three point line, we'll be giving up either long twos after the opposition blows by him, or contested looks in the paint.
  • Hopefully it gives him some confidence. This move would likely be viewed as "babying" Anthony Bennett and giving him minutes he doesn't deserve. I can't argue with that. However, is that not what we've been doing with Andrew Bynum? Bynum is also coming off a surgery and trying to play his way back into shape. I'm not advocating giving Bennett starters minutes, because I'm not insane and would like to win games this year. But starting him, getting him some easier looks and enough minutes to kind of get a feel for the game again (just like we have with Bynum) feels like it's worth the gamble.
Bennett is tremendously flawed at the moment. His post game isn't developed enough to take on smaller SF's in the post, his first step that gives him an advantage at PF is not quick enough to get around SF's, and he would struggle more than the average rookie trying to defend at the SF position. But in the limited role that the Cavalier's small forwards have played this season, giving Anthony Bennett some minutes there just might pay off.