Anthony Bennett’s NBA career began with a surprise announcement at the Barclays Center. It may have ended there, too.
The Nets waived the 23-year-old Monday, the third time he’s been cut since the Cavaliers made him the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft, and perhaps one of the biggest busts in NBA history.
The 6-8, 235-pound forward appeared in 23 games for the Nets, averaging 5.0 points and 3.4 rebounds in 11.5 minutes. An inability to stretch the floor — he shot 27.1 percent from long range this season — has kept the former top pick from catching on with any of the four NBA teams he has played with in four seasons.
Cleveland’s choice to take Bennett first overall turned heads and even left analyst Bill Simmons visibly stunned on ESPN’s live broadcast from Barclays Center four years ago, although there was no clear No. 1 prospect in that draft class.
But there were good players to be had in 2013. Here’s a look a the three best players taken in that draft.
“The Greek Freak,” who grew 2 inches to 6-11 since he was drafted No. 15 overall, has rapidly emerged as one of the NBA’s brightest young stars. This season, he’s averaging 24.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.9 steals for the Bucks this season.
Another European player who emerged stateside, “The Stifle Tower” from France leads the league with 2.6 blocks per game for the Jazz. The 27th overall pick, who stands 7-1, also averages 12.3 points and 12.2 rebounds.
The 10th pick out of Lehigh in 2013 started his career slowly, but was named Most Improved Player last season after increasing his scoring average by 14 points over the previous campaign. This season, the 6-4 guard averages 23.6 points while shooting 41.6% from 3-point territory for the Trail Blazers.