The Case For Anthony Bennett, UNLV: #1 Overall in 2013 NBA Draft
Nerlens Noel of Kentucky and top-ranked Indiana center, Cody Zeller, are no longer the top frontcourt prospects for the 2013 NBA Draft. It's Anthony Bennett, a freshman forward out of UNLV. At 6'8" and a chiseled 240 pounds, the versatile inside-outside forward reminds scouts more and more of former Rebel forward and top NBA Draft pick, Larry Johnson. That's some good company to be in considering the collegiate production and longevity of Johnson's NBA career.
Bennett's size allows him to play inside on the blocks or outside on the perimeter depending on the lineup that head coach Dave Rice puts forth; he is shooting 47 percent of his shots at the rim, converting 72 percent of these attempts, but also 43 knocking down 43 percent of his outside jump shots, including 40 percent from 3-point range. Bennett can spot up on the wing, pull-up from mid-range or flip a baby hook shot over either forward. But he can also take it strong to the rim as evidenced by his free-throw rate of 55.7 that ranks near the tops in the country.
As strong as Bennett is on the offensive end, he can be a dominating force on the glass at both ends. He is second in the Mountain West Conference with 2.8 offensive rebounds per game, while ranking 4th in defensive rebounds per game with 6+.
And Bennett also possesses the lateral quickness to defend 3s or the strength to matchup with 4s at the next level. He averages better than a 1.5 blocks per game and nearly one steal per game with his deceptively quick first step that allows him to get in the passing lanes without taking much risk, and taking the ball the distance in transition.