After enduring an epic cold streak to start the year, No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett has been in and out of the rotation for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In his team's last 11 games Bennett has averaged just 7.5 minutes per game. He didn't play at all in four of those games. Overall he's averaging 2.4 points per game and shooting 24%.
It's one of the worst starts we've ever seen from a first-overall pick. By all accounts Bennett game into training camp out of shape (partly because of an offseason injury) and he has been playing catch up ever since.
His development has also been hindered by Cleveland's stated goal of making the playoffs this year. Bennett is young and raw, and he needs playing time to acclimate himself to the NBA game. The Cavaliers can't give him that time because they're trying (futilely, perhaps) to win games in the short term.
It's a catch-22. Bennett can't get better unless he gets minutes. But can't get minutes unless he gets better.
His shot chart is ... something. Red means below league average:
If Bennett is a bust, it's a disastrous development for the franchise.
Cleveland's post-LeBron rebuilding stage was supposed to be over this year. They just had four top-five picks in a row. They kept an asset (Anderson Varejao) that they could have traded for young talent, and they signed veteran free agents with playoff experience (Jarrett Jack).
But right now they're 6-12. Worse than that, they look haphazardly constructed, with redundancies at a number of positions.
Nearly four years after LeBron left, Cleveland could be on the verge of another rebuild — or at least a significant roster tweak.
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