Anthony Bennett: Comparisons to the Potential #1 Picks

June 12th, 2013 by Kevin Hetrick

While not my most lazily researched, this probably qualifies as my most lazily written.  Various media reports link the Cavs to half the NCAA with the first pick, but rarely does Anthony Bennett come up.  During my comparison series on players last month, several commenters inquired about the UNLV freshman though.  Due to surgery, he was unable to participate in athleticism drills at the combine, but here is his statistical profile:

Anthony Bennett – 6’ 7” in shoes, 239 lbs, 7’ 1” wingspan.  114 orating on 26 usage.  Shooting percentanges = 53 / 38 / 70.  Scoring Location Distribution = 59 / 19 / 22.  Oreb% = 10.2.  Dreb% = 21.8.  ast% = 8.7.  stl% = 1.4.  blk% = 4.5.  A:TO Ratio = 0.5.  Age 20.4 at draft.  NCAA’s 74th most difficult schedule.

A talented scorer, inside and out, his defensive numbers are marginal for a super-athletic forward against a middling schedule.  He’s also old for a freshman, essentially the equivalent of a sophomore, nearly three months older than sophomore Otto Porter, and thirteen months older than Nerlens Noel.

He is unique though.  A 6′ – 7″, 240 pounder that jumps out of the gym and strokes almost 40% of his threes?  Pretty intriguing.  In my pre-draft measurement series, I discussed how short power forwards didn’t produce worse, on average, than their taller, longer contemporaries.  Almost exclusively though, these players were low to the ground bruisers, like Paul Millsap, Jason Maxiell, Dejaun Blair, and Craig Smith.  None of these guys were hyper-athletic power forwards with a perimeter game, so as a comparison to Bennett, things fall apart quickly.

The two highly successful median height power forwards that helped keep the pre-draft measurement correlations low or negative were Kevin Love and Blake Griffin.  Their numerical profiles look like:

Kevin Love – 6’ 9.5” in shoes, 6’ 11.25” wingspan, 255 lbs, 29.5” no-step, 11.17 agility, 3.22 sprint.  Age 19.8 at draft.  127 orating on 27 usage.  Shooting Percentages = 56 / 35 / 77.  Scoring Location Distribution = 58 / 13 / 29.  oreb% = 15.4.  dreb% = 28.5.  ast% = 14. 0.  stl% = 1.4.  blk% = 5.0.  A:TO Ratio = 1.0. 

Blake Griffin – 6′ 8.5″ in shoes, 6′ 11.25″ wingspan, 248 lbs, age 20.3 at draft.  118 orating on 32 usage.  Shooting percentages = 65 / 38 / 59.  Scoring Location Distribution = 75 / 1 / 24.  oreb% = 14.2.  dreb% = 32.2.  stl% = 1.9.  blk% = 3.6.  ast% = 16.2.  A:TO Ratio = 0.7.

Love had the perimeter shooting; Griffin the crazy athleticism.  Despite Bennett combining these traits, these two players were eons ahead of him at a similar age; more efficient on offense and ridiculous rebounders.   Anthony Bennett doesn’t stack up with this duo.

I’m running out of recent, productive, reasonably short forwards to compare him to.  He is vaguely remiscinent of Thad Young’s production* as a freshman: 6′ – 7″ in shoes; scoring about one-quarter of their points from three; efficient on offense and marginal for the counting stats on defense.  Young was thirty pounds lighter and a horrid rebounder, but he was also 15 months younger.  Let’s set him as a preliminary marker for Bennett.

Next I moved onto small forwards that weigh more than 220 lbs, tested well athletically, and produced vaguely simlar to Bennett.  This crew featured Harrison Barnes,  Rudy Gay, Jeff Green, Shawne Williams and Richard Jefferson.  I’ll go out on a limb and say at a similar age, he was more exciting as a prospect than Williams and Jefferson, roughly on par with Barnes and Green, and less enticing than Rudy Gay.  See their numbers below and decide for yourself**.

I’m going to keep this article short…based on these comparisons of production, size, age and athleticism, I say he’s far lesser than Kevin Love and Blake Griffin.  Behind Rudy Gay.  Equivalent-ish to Thad Young, Jeff Green, and Harrison Barnes.  Ahead of Richard Jefferson and Shawne Williams*** at a similar age.  My official projection…ceiling of “borderline, but probably not an all-star”. 

For a floor…something worse than that****.  I’m so good at analytics.

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*Young – 6’ 7.5” in shoes, 210 lbs, 6’ 11.5” wingspan, 34.5” no-step, 11.06 agility, 3.19 sprint. 19 at draft time.  113 orating on 23 usage.  Shooting Percentages = 48 / 42 / 74.  Scoring Location Distribution = 62 / 26 / 12.  Oreb% = 9.4  dreb% = 10.3.  ast% = 12.9.  stl% = 2.4.  blk% = 1.5.  A:TO Ratio = 0.9.

**Harrison Barnes – 6’ 8” in shoes, 228 lbs, 6’ 11.25” wingspan, 38” no-step, 10.93 agility, 3.16 sprint.  Age 20.1.  108 orating on 26 usage.  Shooting Percentages = 44 / 36 / 72.  Scoring Location Distribution = 56 / 23 / 22.  dreb% = 11.  ast% = 7.2.  stl% = 2.0.  blk% = 1.1.  A:TO Ratio = 0.6. 

Jeff Green – 6’ 9.5” in shoes, 7’ 1.25” wingspan, 228 lbs, 33.5” no-step, 12 lane agility, 3.34 sprint, age 20.8 at draft. (20.8 season)  115 orating on 25 usage.  Shooting Percentages = 51 / 38 / 78.  Scoring Location Distribution = 61 / 20 / 19.  dreb% = 16.3.  ast% = 20.7.  stl% = 1.6.  blk% = 4.2.  A:TO Ratio = 1.2.

Shawne Williams – 6’ 8.75” barefoot, 7’ 3” wingspan, 227 pounds, 32” no-step, 10.69 agility, 3.30 sprint.  20.3 at draft time.  108 orating on 23 usage.  Shooting Percentages = 42 / 31 / 79.  Scoring Location Distribution = 46 / 30 / 24.  dreb% = 16.9.  stl% = 2.7.  blk% = 5.1.  ast% = 12.6.  A:TO Ratio = 0.8.

Richard Jefferson – 6’ 8.5” barefoot, 7’ 0” wingspan, 223 lbs, 33” no-step, 11.19 agility, 3.15 sprint.  Age 21 at draft time. (age 20 season)  103 orating on 24 usage.  Shooting Percentages = 50 / 43 / 71.  Scoring Location Distribution = 58 / 22 / 20.  dreb% = 13.6.  stl% = 0.6.  ast% = 23.7.  blk% = 4.4.  A:TO Ratio = 1.1.

Rudy Gay – 6’ 8” barefoot, 222 lbs, 7’ 3” wingspan, 33” no-step, 11.03 agility, 3.32 sprint.  Age 19.8 at draft.  108 orating on 24 usage.  46 / 32/ 73.  63 / 17/ 20.  dreb% = 13.7.   ast% = 12.6.  stl% = 3.2.  blk% = 4.6.

***Williams has thrice been arrested for drug possession.  Also, while playing for the Pacers, an acquaintenace was arrested for murder outside Williams’ home.  I don’t include these details to besmirch him, but merely to provide some background for the “which of these names is not like the others?”

**** About Bennett’s defense, draftexpress.com said “He often looks like he’s only going half speed here, jogging the floor lackadaisically, relaxing in his stance whenever he can, and losing his focus easily.”  So, he’ll need to work on that.