Last week, the Timberwolves made a pretty shocking decision, buying out the contract of former first overall pick Anthony Bennett. Bennett, who was acquired from Cleveland as part of the Kevin Love-Andrew Wiggins trade, averaged just over five points and four rebounds per game in his one-year with Minnesota. It was reported on Friday by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman that Bennett would be signing a one-year, veteran minimum deal with his hometown Toronto Raptors, and that report was later confirmed by Anthony Bennett by way of his Instagram account.
Although he’s only been in the league for only two seasons, Bennett is widely seen as a bust. Some have even gone as far to say he might be the biggest NBA Draft bust of all-time, which seems blasphemous to me. Going into his rookie season, Bennett was forced to have surgery on his shoulder, so he spent most of his rookie season trying to get back into playing shape due to his lack of work in the off-season. Then going into his second season, after being traded to Minnesota, he was buried in the depth chart behind Thaddeus Young, Gorgui Dieng, and Kevin Garnett to go along with multiple injuries that forced him to miss 25 games.
Now by signing the Toronto Raptors, I believe that he’s well set up to succeed. He’s once again buried in the depth chart behind Patrick Patterson, Luis Scola and possibly James Johnson. But unlike the Timberwolves, the Raptors are a playoff team and trying to set themselves up as a contender in the Eastern Conference. This means there’s not a ton of pressure on Bennett to be a force and make an impact. They’ll be allowed to bring him along slowly, even send him down to the D-League’s new Raptors 905, if need be, and put him in the right situations to help the team. Also the fans will be a lot more forgiving with Bennett when he makes mistakes, or if he continues to take longer than expected to develop, mainly because he’s a product of the Greater Toronto Area.
As for the Raptors side of this deal, it looks like a no-brainer. They get a hometown product, a former first overall pick, and an athletic combo forward at an extremely low price. If Anthony Bennett really is a bust with no shot of contributing, they could always let him go at the end of the season, but if he proves his potential and contributes to a playoff team, it’s a big win. Very low risk and potentially high reward move here by Toronto.
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