Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Anthony Bennett finally has a decent game in the books. After having presumably the worst start of any number one pick in NBA history, where in ten games played, Bennett only managed 11 points on 5 of 32 shooting, Bennett almost matched that with his nine points against the Spurs last Saturday night, hitting four out of his five attempts in 12 minutes on the floor.
Still, Bennett has a lot of work to do.
With a 4-10 record, the Cleveland Cavaliers are looking for their top pick to provide more output in order to get out of this early-season slump and make a run at the playoffs, as were predictions before the season started.
Mike Brown is certain the rookie just needs more time to get in sync with his team and this league. He pointed out the fact that a lot of the Cavaliers’ veterans are playing great minutes. This would definitely include Tristan Thompson, who is basically averaging a double-double with 11.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per outing. Andrew Bynum is also getting more minutes as he gets back into the groove of things.
Coach Brown also shared his thoughts about instilling confidence in the young rookie, and that this could not be achieved by forcing the issue, meaning Bennett will not improve by forcing him into big minutes and looking for him to be a top option on the offensive end. He also mentioned the fact that building confidence is tough for a player on a team that is not winning on a consistent basis. Brown assured that Bennett’s situation is a process with the need for patience.
But is patience something the Cleveland Cavaliers’ organization can afford? With all the moves they made in the offseason with personnel, they got a lot of hopes up in Cleveland to the extent where the Cavs were booed while trailing the Washington Wizards by 27 at home last Wednesday night. There are even rumors of moving Bennett, either to Canton or the Philadelphia 76ers. The Cavaliers are not in a position to wait around for Bennett to develop, and after last Wednesday’s fan reaction, they need to start winning. Anthony Bennett has yet to help in that aspect.
How can this change?
Number one, the kid needs to get in shape. It is almost painful at times to watch him out there. I don’t know if it was the shoulder rehab or a difficult transition to the big league, but this is not the same Anthony Bennett that was at UNLV. That Bennett showed up in the fourth quarter of a preseason game against the Orlando Magic.
In this breakout preseason performance, Bennett scored 16 points, all in the fourth quarter, hitting his last six field goal attempts; this came after Bennett’s first five shots were off the mark. He capitalized on the midrange game, both with high posts and the dribble-drive game, to be the driving force of the Cavaliers’ offense in that game.
Now, for the other rookies.
Carrick Felix returned to action last Friday against the New Orleans Pelicans, after being kept out of play by a sports hernia since the preseason. He has only seen 11 minutes of action thus far, managing two free-throws.
Matthew Dellavedova has seen his role take-off since the preseason, where he was simply trying to make the 15-man roster. After only being on the floor for a total of 25 minutes in his first four games. Dellavedova has since started two games and averaged 26 minutes per game in his last four outings.
Sergey Karasev has played in eight games so far this season. He is only shooting 27% from behind the arc, which is his strong suit, but is a perfect 8-8 from the charity stripe. His last game, against San Antonio, was also Karasev’s best outing, tallying eight points and five boards.