UNLV's Bennett bringing physical toughness to NBA

UNLV's Bennett bringing physical toughness to NBA
May 11, 2013, 11:45 pm
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Even following recent rotator cuff surgery, UNLV freshman Anthony Bennett remains a high-to-middle lottery prospect and certainly an option should the Wizards keep their first round selection. However, since the rugged, albeit undersized power forward will be sidelined for the next four months, any on-court evaluations heading into the June 27 draft will come from previous scouting. 

Turns out we have updated profile of the Mountain West Freshman of the Year to study from Ed Isaacson, the man behind NBADraftBlog.com. Read the extensive report for more on Bennett's scoring, defense and ball handling, but here are some highlights.

Post Play/footwork: Bennett can be very efficient in the low post, and can score in a variety of ways.  He has a strong, wide body which he uses well to get position in the post. ...Bennett is capable of powering the ball to the basket, or using a quick finesse move. He prefers to take a few dribbles into the lane and put up a short hook or jumper, but he has shown the ability to drop-step along the baseline or score out of face-up situations. ... He is a good screener, who could do well in pick-and-roll situations, especially with his ability to move quickly and finish strong at the rim. Bennett also does a very good job using his strength to finish in traffic, when he wants to.  

Shooting: Bennett is a good spot-up shooter, and is capable of hitting from 3-point range when open consistently.  He squares well to the basket, has a good release point and follow-through.  His release speed is improving, but he will need to get it quicker at the next level.  ...He uses both hands well to finish around the rim, though he prefers to find ways to finish around the basket with his right. It would be good if Bennett worked on his shot selection, especially dictated by time and situation.  

Rebounding: Bennett is very good on the defensive boards, but he could be even better.  He uses his body well to get wide and box out, and he does a good job going strong after the ball once he gets position. He needs to do a better job being more aware and tracking the shot so he can find the best play to establish position, as well as making sure he keeps the ball up high after he grabs the rebound. He has a bad habit of bringing down to waist level as soon as he grabs the ball, but before he has secured and cleared out. 

Summary: Bennett is a unique, physically gifted talent, but his progression is going to rely a lot on the effort he puts in to getting better combined with a coach who knows how to reign in his bad tendencies. On the offensive end, Bennett can provide scoring inside and out, and can be a match-up problem at the NBA level. Defensively, he really needs to learn and understand the game more, learn to use the body he has to make an impact, and put in the effort needed to consistently make stops. These changes won’t come quickly, and teams will need to be patient with him often in the early years. If they are, they have a good chance at ending up with an impact player.