With the Sixers missing out on the postseason and just one game remaining on their schedule, the focus shifts to the off-season. This year’s NBA Draft will be held June 27th at Madison Square Garden in New York. Scouts have labeled 2013 one of the weakest draft classes in the history of the association. While there may not be the franchise-caliber players, there are bound to be solid pros hidden in the draft. There always is.
The Sixers currently have a 0.8% chance at having the first overall pick in the upcoming draft, which is good for 11th highest. Realistically, the Sixers will be on the clock somewhere in the 9th-13th range, depending on how the ping pong balls bounce.
Here’s a look at one guy bound to be on the team’s radar if they get lucky and are picking closer to the front of that range.
Meet Anthony Bennett.
Anthony Bennett wasn’t on any scouts’ lottery projections entering the 2012-2013 season, but was one of the most dynamic, offensive threats in college basketball in just his freshman season. Standing at 6’7″, his height is a concern for the power forward position, but he makes up for it with his strong, 239 pound frame along with his 7’1″ wingspan.
In 34 games with UNLV this season, Bennett averaged 15.8 points and 8 rebounds on 52.6% shooting in 27.2 minutes per game. For a guy his size, his 38.3% clip from 3-point range is impressive as well.
Strengths : His combination of length and athleticism allow him to be a constant mismatch for opponents. Great quickness and body control for his size allow him to be a threat from anywhere, especially around the rim. He was one of the most explosive finishers at the rim at the college level this season due to his strength, size, and great leaping ability.
Bennett has proven himself as possibly the most versatile scoring threat in the entire draft. He possesses the ability to score inside or out, in countless ways. His shooting mechanics are very solid for a guy his size, and he has range out to the 3-point line. Attacking off the dribble is another strength of his, with either hand, from the perimeter or on face-up situations.
Everything begins and ends with athleticism and size for Anthony Bennett. This combination allows him to be a very good offensive rebounder as well. He consistently carves out space with his frame on smaller match-ups, and uses his quickness and athleticism to hit the glass against bigger opponents. Overall, Bennett is active on the offensive glass on a regular basis, averaging four per 40 minutes.
Upside is a word that comes up frequently in talks about Bennett. He is just 19 years of age, but is experienced for his young age. Playing in the FIBAs in 2009 and 2010 undoubtedly benefited Anthony Bennett’s progress. His age along with his unique combination of skills, size, and athleticism have many NBA scouts believing that he has the potential to be an above-average pro.
Role on Sixers : The Sixers averaged just 93 points per game as a team, and struggle to score on a nightly basis. Whatever the reason may be, Anthony Bennett would help that number. He would, however, be just a scoring threat off the bench, thanks to the emergence of Thaddeus Young this season.
Bennett would add a versatile scorer that the Sixers lack on their current roster. His ability to shoot, face-up, and attack the rim would add a true scoring threat to the bench that they missed this season. After trading away Lou Williams and making Thad a starter, the bench struggled mightily a year after being one of the best.
Bennett is viewed as a top-five talent by many NBA scouts, but may slip due to team needs and the fear that he may be a “tweener”. While he may draw comparisons to Phoenix’s Michael Beasley, teams are always going to take a chance on 6’7″ guys that can shoot, dribble, and finish at the rim. It appears that Bennett is more mature than Beasley, but there is never a pick that is guaranteed to succeed at the NBA level.
The lottery is yet to reveal where the Sixers will be picking come draft day, but if Anthony Bennett is still on the board when it’s their turn, you better believe he will be at the top of their board.