With the NBA Draft just weeks away, Wiz of Awes will be doing a mock draft, which we’ll break down each pick for every lottery team, including the Washington Wizards.
4) Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Bennett, PF/SF, UNLV
Basic Stats: 16.1 PPG, 8.1 REB, 1.0 AST, 1.2 BLK
I probably don’t have to tell you this, but the Charlotte
Hornets Bobcats are not a very good basketball team. Gone are the days of Alonzo Mourning and Larry Johnson. Hell, gone are the days of Muggsy Bogues and Rex Chapman (two former Washington Bullets, I might add. I know, I know, it’s a completely different franchise. You get my drift). The team started the season a stunning 7-7, but then finished an absolutely dismal 14-54 after that. The year before that, the Bobcats finished with the lowest winning percentage in NBA history. Charlotte last year finished 30th in field goal percentage, effective field goal percentage (eFG%) and 28th in offensive rating (the Wizards were 30th), which is something considering that they finished at about the league average in pace and did not turn the ball over much (7th in turnover percentage). OK, OK, so Charlotte was a poor offensive team. That makes it pretty obvious that they go for scoring with the fourth pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, until you discover that they finished 30th in defensive rating, allowing 111.5 points per 100 possessions and allowed opponents to shoot an eFG% of 52.4%.
Where do you begin (I have to tell you, looking at this roster made me fortunate to be a Wizards fan. With all due respect, MJ.)? When a team finishes last in defensive rating and third to last in offensive rating, anywhere is up. After strongly considering choosing Maryland’s Alex Len here, I think Charlotte is best served going with Anthony Bennett. As bad as the defense was last year, when your top scorers are Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson, and Ramon Sessions, you have to think offense here, right? Not only is that a rough group as your top four, all of those players are in the backcourt. The team’s top scoring bigs are BJ Mullens and Josh McRoberts. On top of that, aside from Walker, Charlotte has left the first round the last two years with very raw offensive players (Bismack Biyombo and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist). I guess you could argue that with a good deal of cap room available the team could just overpay for Paul Millsap, but I think Bennett has more potential and has the offensive range to inject some life into this team.
Ah yes, Anthony Bennett. He whose game has been dissected by Wizards fans more than frogs in seventh grade biology class. He is a good shooter for a big man, shooting 37.5% from three-point range for UNLV on the season. Bennett handles the ball quite well for his size, and doesn’t turn the ball over much despite having a usage percentage of 27.5%. Although he has been accused at times of not crashing the boards, he still managed to average eight rebounds per game. At 6’7, 239 pounds, he certainly fits the description of a tweener at forward, which is a bit of a gift and a curse, as he often proved too strong for small forwards to guard him and too quick and athletic for power forwards. With his range and power, he could be a nightmare as a 4 at the next level. The downside to being a tweener is at 6’7 it can be difficult to figure out who he guards defensively. It should also be noted that he hasn’t consistently shown a huge effort on defense (some would argue that he has consistently shown no effort on defense.). He also has asthma, which could obviously limit him conditioning wise. These certainly are areas for concern, but with a 7’1 wingspan, and defensive motivation from newly hired head coach Steve Clifford, the seeds could be there for him to develop into at least a passable defender in Charlotte.
Anthony Bennett has been quite the polarizing figure in this draft. I’ve seen him projected anywhere from third to tenth in mock drafts, and his strengths and weaknesses have been pointed out at nauseam. There are stories upon stories about tweeners at forward struggling to find a niche in the NBA. His boom or bust potential figures to be HUGE, as while he may have the highest ceiling in the entire draft, he could also have the lowest floor.
They are rumored to be very high on him, and it could end up being a huge swing and miss, but I think Charlotte has to take a chance here. With well over $15 million in cap room, the team will almost certainly look to add scoring through free agency, but they have the chance to draft a potential cornerstone. With their roster barren of frontcourt scorers, Bennett could immediately be their best offensive big and develop into the only dynamic scorer in the organization besides the owner. With the fourth pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, Charlotte hopes that Anthony Bennett can bring the buzz back to this franchise.