“Stunningly, almost unanimously, the fans were in favor of the pick,” Adam the Bull remarks. “Which is a shocking thing in Cleveland, especially.”
The 92.3 The Fan radio host in Cleveland brought that unexpected perspective to MoJo with Chris Moore and Brian Jones following the 2013 NBA Draft, an unpredictable affair that got kicked off when the Cavaliers selected UNLV forward Anthony Bennett with the first overall pick.
“I thought they were doing what everybody else thought—taking one of the big guys, which I didn’t like,” admits the Bull. “And they ended up going with Bennett.”
In the weeks leading up to the draft, two names dominated the top spot on mock drafts: Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel and Maryland’s Alex Len, two bigs with considerable upside who put up unspectacular statistics in college and are currently both rehabbing from severe injuries.
Outside of those two, Victor Oladipo was the surest thing on the board, Otto Porter, Jr. was expected to be the first small forward off the board, and Ben McLemore was supposed to wrest the title of best talent in the class away from Bennett. Yet Bennett beat them all, against all odds and indications.
“There were like six guys we were talking about, and he was one of the six—along with the two big guys and Oladipo and a couple of others,” Adam explains. “But he was probably, of the six, the guy we talked about the least, or the guy we heard about the least connected to the Cavs.”
So what kind of player did the Cavs end up taking?
Bennett stand 6’7” with a playing weight of 240 pounds (his current weight is closer to 260). As an offensive threat, he has the strength to push his defender inside and beat him on the block, while he also has the shooting ability to make opponents account for him beyond the arc.
“People compare him to Larry Johnson—which is a lofty comparison for another UNLV guy,” the Bull says. “But he’s a better shooter than Larry Johnson was coming out of college; we’ll see if he can do some of the other things.”
That size is the main issue when it comes to Bennett. In fact, it is not the overweightness but the shortness that had some scouts worried. If every interior defender has multiple inches of height on Bennett, he will have a very difficult time scoring from the low post.
However, that particular shortcoming does not bother the Bull.
“A number of people said to me this week, that I trust to cover college basketball, said, ‘If this guy is two inches taller, he is the lock number-one pick in the draft’ And I’m thinking, okay, well I’m not going to let that stop me from picking the guy that’s the best talent.”
“Often we hear about guys who are tweeners and that they don’t work out in the league,” he added. “I think they don’t work out in the league because they’re not good enough basketball players, not because they’re two inches too short, in my opinion.”