Latest posts by Sam Amico (see all)
- Follow Amico’s Cavaliers and NBA coverage on SI.com - October 30, 2019
- Dribbles: Ain’t no doubt about it, Cavs hurtin’ for certain - November 21, 2019
- Cavaliers unveil ‘City Edition’ uniforms and court design - November 21, 2019
For former No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett, the Houston Rockets are sort of the Last Chance Saloon of pro hoops.
Bennett went from being among the Cleveland Cavaliers’ biggest hopes in 2013 … to a journeyman who has never found a niche in the NBA.
Today, Bennett has one claim to fame, and that is the fact he’s the first and only No. 1 overall pick to be assigned to the G League. He also spent some time in Turkey.
But he’s no basketball turkey himself, Bennett will tell you. He’s been working on his game, particularly from perimeter, and seems to think the Rockets are the ideal fit.
“This team shoots a lot of 3-pointers and I think I’ll be a huge contributor just staying locked in and being consistent,” Bennett said, via Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.
Bennett has been working on his shooting with long-ago Cavs coach John Lucas, now a developmental coach with the Rockets. Lucas was the No. 1 overall pick himself — in 1976, or 37 years before Bennett.
Lucas was a speedy point guard who played with tons of heart, but like Bennett, needed some time to figure out the pro game. Lucas, now 65, has become sort of a basketball whisperer, helping players with the mental side of the game and specializing in players with untapped potential, such as Bennett.
Bennett is 6-foot-8 and was part of a trade to the Minnesota Timberwolves that delivered Kevin Love to the Cavs. Bennett has always been more power forward than small forward. Mostly, though, he has been a man without a position.
If he can consistently make threes on a team that shoots a lot of them, he may be able to turn himself into a “stretch four,” a player who can draw opposing big men away from the basket.
That’s something the Rockets would find invaluable next to high-scoring, ball-dominant guards James Harden and Russell Westbrook.
Bennett seems to realize all of this.
“It is really important,” he said of his latest opportunity. “I’m doing everything I can to maintain and get better.”
Bennett, 26, has spent time with the Cavs, Timberwolves, Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets and carries career averages of 4.4 points and 3.1 rebounds in 151 total games.