Multiple sources have reported that former number 1 overall pick, Anthony Bennett, has reached a buyout agreement with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Yahoo Sources: Minnesota progressing on contract buyout with former No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett. He would be free agent if clears waivers.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) September 21, 2015
The Cleveland Cavaliers shocked the world when David Stern announced their first overall pick in the 2013 draft. Their selection was Anthony Bennett, a 6 foot 8 inch stretch power forward that had built momentum up draft boards due to his pre-draft workouts. Bennett did not have explosive athleticism, but his polished post game to go along with his perimeter shot drew the Cavaliers to taking him with the first pick of the draft.
However, Bennett struggled. Well, he more than struggled, he was dreadful. Bennett averaged 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds in 52 games in his rookie season with the Cavs. He only shot 35.6% from the field, and from behind the arc, just 24.5%. He found himself at the end of the bench for the majority of the season and was nothing but a disaster. The Cavs sent Bennett to the Timberwolves in the trade that sent Kevin Love to Cleveland. However, by that time he was just an after thought. The real prize in that trade was the superstar wing man out of Kansas, Andrew Wiggins.
Bennett struggled in his sophomore season with the Wolves as well, but there is no denying he improved. He shot 42% from the field and his three-point shooting percentage increased to 30.4%. He was still not a major part of the team, but at just 22 years old, Bennett is a man looking for a new place to call home.
The Hawks should currently be glancing around the market for frontline help. With the Mike Scott situation cloudy, the Hawks need to be ready for the worst. In all likelihood, Scott will not be available for Atlanta in the beginning of season and possibly the whole season. Mike Muscala is the only real option at the power forward position off the bench. Bennett could be a perfect option on the market to take Scott’s minutes.
Bennett clearly has some talent, and while he was a surprise number one pick, he was expected to go in the top five regardless. In college, he was a great finisher around the rim and could stretch the floor with his shooting. He lacked great one-on-one ability, but in a system like the Hawks’ he could thrive. He would not be forced to make plays on his own, something the Cavaliers’ and Timberwolves’ offensives rely heavily on. In the Atlanta offense, his shooting numbers would rise and could potentially be around a 35% shooter from behind the arc, which is very uncommon for a player with his size.
Atlanta has one of the best player development staffs in the NBA. Coach Budenholzer has already made a name for himself by getting the most out of his players skill set. Bennett was drafted for his particularly unique skill set. His previous suitors were unable to utilize it, but Coach Budenholzer and his staff could get the best out of this 22-year old. With him being so young, he could be a high-upside option for the Hawks to acquire with very little risk.