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Anthony Bennett says he'd be open to a D-League stint

By Royce Young | NBA writer

Worse than Kwame Brown. Worse than Michael Olowokandi.

That's where Anthony Bennett's rookie season ranks thus far statistically.

He has a current PER of 1.1, which is 10.1 worse than Brown posted in his bust-tastic rookie season.

Bennett's career is still young, and he's only played in 31 games. But he's shooting just 26.9 percent from the field and clearly appears to be in over his head at times. That video at the top is one of every shot from Bennett in the first 12 games of his career. Look how open he is in most of them. His form looks good, his release is nice. He just can't make a stinking shot.

So with Luol Deng now in place for the Cavs seeming to bump Bennett even further down the bench, what's the rookie to do now? Ken Berger of CBSSports.com made the suggestion last week Bennett should be in the D-League. And via the Plain-Dealer, he's open to it.

Even before he didn't play a minute in a 120-118 victory over the Lakers on Tuesday night, rookie Anthony Bennett was being asked whether he'd be interested in going down to play with the Cavaliers' owned-and-operated NBA Development League franchise in Canton.

"It's something I'd think about, for sure," Bennett said before Tuesday's game. "It's not a bad thing, especially going down there, hopefully playing a lot, going out there, building my confidence."

[...]

To this point, the Cavs have resisted a Canton assignment, believing they can monitor his progress and development more carefully if he remains with the team.

"We've been able to find minutes for AB, from time to time, whether it's at the small forward or power forward," coach Mike Brown said on Tuesday. "That hasn't been a bridge we've crossed yet."

Bennett was asked what he thought had to happen for him to gain more confidence.

"To be honest, I don't really know,'' he said. "In practice, I'm going hard. I'm making shots, getting a little work done after practice, before practice, in the weight room, doing all that, building a routine.''

The fact Bennett isn't letting his ego get in the way and understands the only way for him to improve is to play, is a positive sign.

I'm reluctant to call Bennett a bust yet, or go anywhere near that word. He's a rookie, and he's having trouble. He was a bit of a reach at No. 1 overall, but the guy can clearly play. He dominated at UNLV, and he was solid in preseason. It's either in his head, or he's just uncomfortable. A lot of his misses are routine shots that probably fall without issue in practice. It seems to be a confidence thing more than anything.

I think a lot of the blame needs to go on the Cavs. They're the ones that selected Bennett and tried to push him towards small forward, when he's probably more of a natural power forward. The Cavs had higher hopes for a better season, but now that it's obvious they aren't any good, why aren't they playing Bennett 25-30 minutes a night?

The Cavs had had a number of top five picks the past few years and they're pretty inconsistent with them. Could it be that they aren't bad at picking them, but developing them?

And the only way for a young player to improve is real, live basketball action. The best is in the NBA, but if the Cavs are unwilling to give Bennett that, it's best for him to accept the demotion and go play some ball somewhere.

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