Although Nerlens Noel was drafted last year, he’s considered a rookie this season since he had to sit out last season with an injury. And so far during the NBA summer leagues, Noel is looking like a solid NBA player and a defensive force – as evident by this big rejection on Anthony Bennett.
As for Bennett, the #1 pick in last year’s draft, he would have been better off missing the entire season with an injury than going through the historically horrific rookie season that made Bennett a favorite among Meme creators.
The jokes and criticism got so bad that players like Roy Hibbert were coming to Bennett’s defense. It got so bad that people actually started feeling sorry for him, especially after a verbal beatdown by Gary Payton. It got so bad that he was already being labeled by some as the biggest bust of all-time.
So here we are going into his second season. A season that started off with him being left off LeBron’s homecoming letter and in the middle of a bunch of trade rumors. A season where he better put up some stats or he’s not only going to keep getting mentioned with names like Kwame Brown, Sam Bowie, LaRue Martin, Greg Oden and Michael Olowokandi but he’s going to end up wherever you might find names like LaRue Martin and Michael Olowokandi.
But so far so good for Bennett. He’s lost 20 pounds, looking like he’s gained some hops and putting up decent numbers in the Summer League so far.
July 11: 15pts, 7 rebs (6-16fg)
July 13: 13pts, 14rebs (5-8fg)
July 14: 14pts, 4rebs (5-12fg)
New Coach David Blatt also had some positive things to say about Bennett.
“AB has been good since day one since I came. He’s really working hard to get himself in shape. He’s really, really trying to do a lot of different things on the court to help the team. It’s a work in progress but he’s doing a great job.
“I came in and Anthony came in with a clean slate. Physically he’s really worked hard and I think that’s the most important thing is for him to get into shape to be the kind of player he can be. Last year is in the past. We’re looking ahead and I really believe and hope that Anthony can be a part of what is ahead.”