The Anthony Bennett experiment is over. After working him out during the summer, supporting him on Team Canada during the Olympic Qualifying Tournament and signing him to a one-year, $1 million contract, the Nets Monday waived the overall No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
To replace him, they will sign 6’9” journeyman Quincy Acy, who had been playing for the Texas Legends in the D-League. The deal is reportedly a 10-day contract.
Marc Stein of ESPN tweeted it out first.
The Nets are Acy’s sixth team in six seasons in the NBA. The 26-year-old played six games for Dallas last season. His most productive season came two years ago when he played 68 games for the Knicks, starting 22. He averaged 5.9 points and 4.3 rebounds, shooting 45.9 percent overall and 30.0 percent from deep.
This year, for the Legends, the Mavericks’ affiliate, he’s averaged 17.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and two blocks, improving his three point shooting to nearly 40 percent.
Acy becomes the 18th player to wear the Nets uniform this season. The team record is 22.
For Bennett, it appears the Nets decision is the end of the road for the 6’8” power forward who was playing for his fourth team in four years after being taken No. 1 by the Cavaliers in a surprise move. As he had with the Cavs, Timberwolves and Raptors, Bennett had a few good games offensively, but his lack of defense and BBIQ did him in.
Kenny Atkinson stopped using him after the turn of the new year, playing him only three minutes in the last seven games.
|Forward Anthony Bennett appeared in 23 games for the Nets, averaging 5.0 points and 3.4 rebounds in 11.5 minutes per game. Credit Chris Young/The Canadian Press, via Associated Press|
Anthony Bennett, Cut by Nets, Stands Out Among N.B.A. Busts
In the final N.B.A. draft he presided over, in 2013, David Stern, then the league’s commissioner, shocked the crowd at Barclays Center when he announced that the Cleveland Cavaliers had taken Anthony Bennett with the No. 1 overall pick. A 6-foot-8 power forward who had played one year at Nevada-Las Vegas, Bennett was a surprise selection over Nerlens Noel and some other top prospects.
Shortly after the pick, Bennett sat in front of the assembled members of the news media and tried to make sense of it all.
“I’m just as surprised as everyone else,” said Bennett, the first No. 1 pick from Canada.
While many people tried to justify the pick, it quickly proved to be a huge mistake. On Monday, the Nets announced that they had waived him after he had played 23 games for the team, averaging 5 points and 3.4 rebounds. They became the fourth team in four years to give up on Bennett, who is quickly rising on the list of biggest busts in N.B.A. history.
Such lists are generally led by Greg Oden, Kwame Brown, LaRue Martin and Michael Olowokandi. Like Bennett, they were No. 1 picks.
The term “bust” is subjective, of course, but in terms of on-court production, Bennett is 64th in win shares among the 65 No. 1 picks since 1950 who have played in an N.B.A. game. (Win shares is a player statistic that assigns credit for team success to individuals.) The only player with fewer win shares than Bennett’s 0.5 was Mark Workman, who was taken by Milwaukee with the first pick in 1952, when the draft was much more of a crapshoot. Contrast that with Oden, who despite his injuries managed 7.3 win shares in three partial seasons.
Bennett was not quite an unknown when he was drafted by Cleveland as he had shown up on lists of top 10 prospects. Even so, few considered him a legitimate option at No. 1.
Since then, even among only his peers in the 2013 draft class, Bennett has stood out for a lack of performance. In terms of win shares, he ranks 39th out of the 51 players in that class who have appeared in an N.B.A. game. While that class’s best performers have proven thus far to be Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz (22.6 win shares, taken with the 27th pick) and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks (21, 15th), Bennett is outranked even by lesser-known players like Reggie Bullock (1.6, 25th), Nate Wolters (1.0, 38th) and Sergey Karasev (0.8, 19th).
Bennett is 23 years old and could have other chances to succeed. The argument that he is larger bust than someone like Oden relies less on who was taken after him than his lack of production when he was on the court. Oden, infamously taken ahead of Kevin Durant, was felled by injuries, but when healthy, he was effective. Bennett, meanwhile, has found his way into 151 N.B.A. games, 46 more than Oden, yet he has scored in double figures in only 16 games and managed 10 or more rebounds in only six.
Should nothing change, the biggest positive in drafting Bennett might be that he was one of the pieces, along with Andrew Wiggins, that the Cavaliers used to acquire Kevin Love and team him with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. So in a sense, Bennett contributed to a future championship for the Cavaliers, even if he was no longer there.
Nets waive former No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett
Bennett’s minimum salary is guaranteed, so the Nets will have to pay what he’s owed for this season. This will even give him a chance to double dip – though that second salary will surely come in a lesser league.
The Timberwolves and Raptors have already waived Bennett, who was drafted by the Cavaliers. He’s running out of NBA teams to take a chance on him. He looks neither talented enough (getting waived by the freaking Nets) nor young enough (23) to justify his lack of production.
Brooklyn will be better off with Quincy Acy, whom the Mavericks waived earlier this season only because they were so desperate for a guard. He’s a hustle player whose energy will be jarring following Bennett.
At least Bennett’s Nets tenure produced one memorable moment.