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2013 NBA Draft Profile: Don't Sleep on UNLV's Anthony Bennett

Most experts believe tonight's NBA Draft is a weak one. On paper the consensus is that there is no future superstar to be selected. It is believed that there will be more Michael Olowokandi's and Chris Washburn's than Rajon Rondo's and Chris Paul's. Even the top picks in this year’s draft have come under heavy scrutiny. While Nerlens Noel was impressive when healthy at Kentucky last year, and Ben McLemore and Alex Len clearly have a lot of potential, it will be UNLV's Anthony Bennett that is the best player from this year’s class.

Bennett's lone season in Las Vegas was exactly what you would expect from an incredibly skilled 19 year old. He showed an ability to score in the post, from the perimeter, and rebound out of his area. He shot a high percentage, got to the foul line, and helped his team make the NCAA Tournament. He also was lost during stretches of games, played inconsistently, and turned the ball over too frequently.

You cannot teach Bennett's strengths. He moves beautifully at 6'7” and 239 pounds. He is smooth in transition, finishes around the rim, and opponents must respect his jump shot all the way out beyond the three point line. He can dribble with either hand, and rebounds well especially on the offensive end where he consistently scores on second chance opportunities.

It is reasonable to question how good a defender Bennett is and whether he is big enough to play power forward. He showed glimpses of being a defensive pest during the Mountain West season but seemed to play well only in spots. As for his position, his athleticism, strength, and offensive versatility should make playing power forward no problem.

Bennett played in a wide open system at UNLV, and getting up and down the floor in the NBA won't be a problem. Like any other draftee, particularly those who did not play in a structured college system and stayed in the NCAA for only one year, there will be an adjustment to some of the terminology and NBA concepts particularly on defense.

The NBA draft is all about selecting a player with the most talent who has the greatest likelihood of emerging into a star. Bennett has both the physical attributes and the skill set to be an impact player for whoever selects him.


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