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ESPN: Anthony Bennett still has All-Star potential

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While the rest of the world focuses on Kyrie Irving and his counterparts at the impending All-Star weekend in New Orleans, ESPN.com’s David Thorpe thinks that one of his teammates could soon join him if he plays his cards right: Anthony Bennett.

Yes, that Anthony Bennett. The same kid who, just weeks—if not days ago—was called every NBA-related pejorative in the books as he was linked to rumors and demands for NBDL playing time. Fast forward to today and Bennett was one of five Cavalier players left on the floor during a comeback attempt against the Los Angeles Lakers; he’s quietly averaged 9.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in 20 minutes of play over the last three games. His shooting percentage is still dreadful, but Thorpe believes that, with a multi-step process, Bennett could be one of the many players who turned a slow start into stardom—many of which are predicated upon his curreny weight.

Goal No. 1: Get in great shape

Starting right now, Bennett can significantly transform his body by the end of the season. Then he can use that as a springboard to get even slimmer in the offseason. It looks as though he can lose 30-60 pounds in the next six months, and that new body would unlock an incredible set of talents. […] The best part for Bennett is that he has the type of body that should continue to exhibit power and force despite a significant loss of weight.

Goal No. 2: Play athletically and energetically

Bennett looks as though he can be an explosive athlete once he transforms his body. Learning to finish explosively takes time, as well, but it pays huge rewards. He has finished less than 43 percent of his shots at the rim this season, a number that can’t help but improve immensely if he could utilize a newfound athleticism at the rim.

Goal No. 3: Embrace the paint first

Watching Bennett shoot the ball during pregame warm-ups reveals one clear truth — he has a chance to be a special shooter. He has very nice form, uses good arc and has a soft touch overall. But that does not mean he should be camped out behind the 3-point line for much of the game. It’s one thing for a young guard who lacks driving skills to stick to the 3-point line, it’s another thing for a huge power forward to do so. […] To build himself into the most potent offensive force possible, Bennett would be wise to begin and end most possessions inside. He has the size and skill to be more of a factor there, and with a new body, he’d be even more effective.

The end result? A brand new Anthony Bennett.

Thorpe states that, players as talented as Bennett, such as Lamar Odom and Rasheed Wallace, can get lost in their variety of skills. Improving day-to-day, as Bennett appears to have done over the last few weeks, is integral in the confidence needed to continue building toward what the Cavaliers thought they were obtaining when they spent that No. 1 pick this past summer. As Thorpe concludes, it’s still very early and cementing him as a “bust” may be done merely out of the necessity to categorize. “It is a mistake to wonder whether or not he can get there, but it remains fair to ask if he will get there.”

  • RGB

    Am i the only person who thinks he looks like Jenny Craig Biggie Smalls?

  • cmm13

    “It looks as though he can lose 30-60 pounds in the next six months”
    ….that can’t be a healthy goal.

  • mgbode

    sadly, it might be a healthy goal

  • mgbode

    Get in shape, play with energy, and try to shoot near the hoop.

    That type of knowledge is why pay insider $$ (I like Thorpe, it’s just funny how simple it really may be).

  • Marek Włodarczyk

    he only played 4 20+ min games and his avg are 11 pts 4.75 rb 0.75 ast 1 st 0.5 blk

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    ESPN building everyone up again after the tear down only to set up for the next tear down.

  • Doug Turrington

    Losing 2 pounds a week is a healthy pace (albeit aggressive) for most. 6 months x 4 weeks in a month is 24 weeks and about 48 pounds so, not unreasonable at all.

  • Jack

    I believe this.

  • cmm13

    Bennett can still be an all-star if he:
    1. Learns how to dribble a basketball
    2. Learns how to pass a basketball
    3. Learns how to shoot a basketball
    PAY ME.

  • cmm13

    Healthy pace for what starting weight?
    If I weigh a buck sixty and want to drop 60 pounds….

  • Doug Turrington

    We’re talking apples to oranges as far as physique. Bennett weighs a hell of a lot more than 160 lbs.

  • mgbode

    I think the point is that it is a healthy pace to achieve your target-healthy weight.

    If you weigh 200lbs and you determine your healthy weight should be 180lbs, then you could achieve it in 10wks.

    If you are Jared Lorenzen, then you could lose 2lbs/wk for 2 years straight and potentially do it in a healthy manner.

  • mgbode

    he knows how to shoot, he’s just too out of shape to do it in games. all the reports from a million different sources discuss how beautiful his shot is in practice when he can just stand there without getting winded.

    he’s like Derek Carr throwing a football.

  • Cynic

    Forget whether or not it’s healthy or reasonable, this is just patently ridiculous. Jason Lloyd was reporting that AB was down “around” his college playing weight of 240 way back on Dec 15. This was clear just by looking at him, and even if it was a little optimistic, he couldn’t have been at more than 255, and he looks even slimmer now (even a bit trimmer than he did in his UNLV highlights). So OK, david thorpe, yeah, good idea … lets get AB down to 195. SMH.

    Now, I do totally agree 100% with thorpe’s assessment that Bennett needs to play with more athletecism and explosiveness, but the “AB is fat” meme has worn on me b/c it’s such a lazy oversimplification that isn’t even really true anymore. For instance, if you’ve watched Bennett play, it’s clear that right now his mental approach is a big part of what’s holding him back, and thorpe doesn’t really address this. Beyond just taking bad shots, he’s often out of position on both offense and defense, and constantly scrambling to get back into the right spot.

  • cmm13

    Thanks for the sanity… reading AB needs to drop 60 pounds floored me.

  • cmm13

    GREAT! Take one off the list… we’re on our way boys!