Power Forward, 6’8″, 240 lbs.
20 years old
2012-13 Stats: 16.1 PPG (53.3% FG, 70.1% FT, 37.5% 3FG), 8.1 RPG, 1.0 APG, .7 SPG, 1.0 BPG, 1.9 TOPG
STRENGTHS: Bennett is as talented a scorer as there is in this draft. The UNLV star was comfortable on season from anywhere on the floor, both inside and out – 40% of his shots were in the paint, and he scored 73% of them; he also shot 44% on his midrange shots and 37.5% from three (shot information is from hoop-math.com). After playing just one season of college ball, it’s astounding how advanced Bennett was as a scorer. He’s incredibly aggressive at the offensive end.
The slightly undersized power forward is extremely athletic, enough to handle playing the small forward position while also having the muscle mass needed to play the four spot as well. He’s very quick and nimble for a man with his muscle mass and weight. Bennett played well against taller (and sometimes stronger) opponents, using his rare combination of size and athletic ability to compensate for his lack of height; he averaged 8.1 rebounds a game with an above average rebounding rate of 16.3% (21.6% on the defensive glass).
The biggest plus for Bennett is his upside. With his speed, athleticism and muscle mass combined with his rebounding rate and advanced offensive skill set, the bar is high for Bennett’s potential.
WEAKNESSES: Defense, defense, defense. While his offensive game is refined beyond his years, his defensive game is light years away from NBA level. He’s poor when it comes to off-ball defense, and a lot of the time he gives very sub-par effort. Much like current King DeMarcus Cousins, often times he jogs back up the court defensively rather than going full-throttle like he does offensively.
While he made up for some of the height differences in college with his athleticism, it will become more problematic in the NBA. He’s stands 6’7 in shoes and may have to transition to SF more often than one would like.
The only weakness in his offensive game is in the post. He rarely plays with his back to the basket, and will need further development as he transitions from playing against guys he could jump over to playing against the taller, stronger NBA bigs.
Finally, he’s a high-usage player. He moves well without the ball, but he’ll never be called “effective without the ball”. His usage rate was 27.5%, second highest among likely first round big men (Gonzaga’s Kelly Olynyk was at 30.7%)
HOW HE’D FIT WITH THE KINGS: Bennett on paper looks like a very poor fit for the Kings. His shooting touch would be a nice addition, but he’d just give Sacramento another mouth to feed with only one ball to share. A Cousins/Bennett duo would be scary if utilized properly, since both players offensive potential is sky high, but like Cousins, Bennett often makes poor decisions and takes bad shots. Defensively, he’d be a non-starter with Coach Mike Malone at the helm.
BRYANT – For the Kings, no, and it’s a pretty easy no. In a vacuum (say, the Charlotte Bobcats?) Bennett’s scoring ability would be a fantastic addition, but in Sacramento, he’d be absolutely redundant. The Kings already have enough ball-needy players, and adding Bennett to a big core with Cousins would just be asking for trouble in terms of offensive touches. Given the Kings new direction of defense first, Bennett seems an unlikely (and bad) fit.
SCOTT LEVIN - Unfortunately, no. Bennett brings some clear positives to the table — his high energy and willingness to hit the boards evoke just a sliver of Paul Millsap‘s game. But that tweener designation is more than a label; it’s a big strike. Bennett just doesn’t have a true position. His defense, as Bryant pointed out, is bad enough to begin with. As a three, he will get outhustled, and as a four he will get overpowered. Sure, a Rodney Rogers type player with an Antoine Walker/Larry Johnson ceiling could be a nice piece to your team. But not for the Kings, and not at No. 7. Just not a great fit.
WHERE HE GOES: He seems a solid fit for either Washington (3) or Charlotte (4), both of whom could use a multi-talented scoring bigman. Many current mocks have him going to Charlotte. If he slips past the Bobcats, Phoenix (5) is in need of talent at every position. New Orleans (6) has a defensive big in Anthony Davis, which would create one scary Anthony duo on both ends of the court. Detroit (8) COULD use another scorer, but he seems redundant with Greg Monroe. It is unlikely a scorer with Bennett’s athleticism would fall out of the top 10.