Cavaliers fans didn't need to see the results of the NBA's Rookie of the Year voting to realize that newcomer Anthony Bennett severely underperformed in 2013-14.
But one particular statistic proves just how awful Bennett's first season was.
The 21-year-old didn't receive a single vote for the league's Rookie of the Year award, which was won by the 76ers' Michael Carter-Williams. That makes Bennett the first healthy No. 1 overall pick not to earn a vote since the voting went to a points system in 2003. Only Blake Griffin and Greg Oden, both of whom missed the entire season after their No. 1 selection, did not receive a vote. Griffin went on to win the award in his first full year in the league.
In fairness, Bennett was hampered by injuries. He had offseason shoulder surgery and, as a result, came into training camp overweight. Just as he was starting to show some progress, Bennett was sidelined in March with a strained left knee.
Still, in the 52 games in which Bennett played, he was historically bad. He averaged 4.2 points, 3 rebounds and 1.8 fouls. He became just the fourth No. 1 pick to post a negative WARP [wins above replacement player]. His -1.5 WARP figure tied Michael Olowokandi for the worst ever. Kwame Brown (-0.6) and Pervis Ellison (-0.3) were in the neighborhood.
"I played a lot (this year),” Bennett said toward. the end season. “Obviously, I could have been a whole lot better. I just got to be prepared for next season.”
Bennett has committed himself this offseason to working on his game, and it appears likely that he'll play on the Cavaliers' summer league team in Las Vegas. He missed last year's summer league as he recovered from shoulder surgery.
A strong showing during the summer could propel Bennett to an improved sophomore season.
"Going into the season, he wasn't quite where he needed to be," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said of Bennett missing the team's summer workouts. "It took him some time to work himself into true playing shape, mentally and physically to get ready for the rigors of the NBA. He showed flashes in practice. He showed flashes in the game. We were able to feel his talent. So I look forward to him having a good summer and continuing to rise in the right direction."
(H/T to For The Win)
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