clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Anthony Bennett could surprise for the Rockets

After years of bouncing around from the NBA to the G-League, Anthony Bennett is now a member of the Houston Rockets. Will he reshape his career as an NBA bust? 

2018 MGM Resorts NBA G League Winter Showcase Day 3: Capital City Go-Go v Agua Caliente Clippers Photo by David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images

Anthony Bennett is back in the NBA........well, kind of.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the former No. 1 overall pick has agreed to a non-guaranteed deal with the Houston Rockets. In the agreement, Bennett will have an opportunity to compete for a roster spot with an invitation to the Rockets training camp.

With a career average of 4.4 points and 3.1 rebounds, it is easy to understand why so many fans were confused by the signing of Bennett. He has not played an NBA game since the 2016-17 season as a member of the Brooklyn Nets, and normally a player of his caliber would not get a chance to play for a championship team until he has proven his worth in the league.

However, things worked out differently for Bennett and when taking a look at the improvements he made in the G-League, his signing could surprisingly turn out to be a great move for the Rockets.

Over the course of the last four years, Bennett has done an exceptional job reinventing himself in the G-League. He became one of the most productive players in the league, averaging 13.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.0 steals per game, while shooting 47.8 percent from the field.

His most successful stint came during the 2018 season as a member of the Maine Red Claws, where he averaged a career-high 16.0 points and 7.7 rebounds across a 21-game span. While showcasing the scoring abilities that made him a top selection in the 2013 draft, what stood out the most during Bennett’s time in the minor league was his ability to shoot the three.

Despite an NBA shooting percentage of 26.1 percent, Bennett developed into one of the best shooting big men in the G-League, as he shot 42.1 percent from behind the arc. While averaging 12.2 points last season with the Agua Caliente Clippers, Bennett had the fifth highest three-point field goal percentage in the league, as he shot 44.9 percent from the behind the arc.

If he can carry his dead-eye shooting over to the NBA, Bennett would give the Rockets another solid three-point shooter playing within Mike D’Antoni’s offense. And for the first time since the departure of Ryan Anderson, he would provide Houston with a big man who could shoot from the outside.

With James Harden and Russell Westbrook running the show, one can expect a plethora of pick-and-roll action in Houston next season. However, unlike the play of Clint Capela and Tyson Chandler, who are rolling straight to the basket, Bennett can be used as a pick-n-pop option due to his capability to shoot from the outside.

In addition to his shot, Bennett can also give the Rockets a reliable presence down on the low post with his soft touch around the basket. So on the offensive end, it seems as if Bennett would be a good fit for the Rockets. Unfortunately, the rest of his game may keep him from making the team come late October.

Since his days at the University of Nevada, Bennett has never been a great defensive player, and it is one of the reasons why he has had a hard time trying to find a home in the NBA. Although his defense is inadequate, Bennett’s skills rebounding the basketball is extremely insufficient.

Through 151 games, Bennett has only pulled down a total of 472 broads during his NBA career. That’s awful even when compared to point guards such as Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, and Chris Paul who have all recorded more rebounds than Bennett in any four-year span of their respective careers.

After trading for Russell Westbrook in a blockbuster deal and landing free-agent center Tyson Chandler, many fans were left dumbfounded by the Rockets’ decision to sign Bennett. He is known as one of the biggest busts in league history, and many immediately began to mock the Rockets’ latest roster move on social media. One even called Bennett’s signing the most useless deal of the offseason.

But for the first time in his career, Bennett is not playing for a rebuilding franchise, and this can have a profound impact in his attempt to re-establish himself as an NBA player.

Although his chances to make the team remains a long shot, the Houston Rockets have nothing to lose in signing Anthony Bennett to a contract next season. Here is hope that Houston will be the place where Bennett can reshape his career as an NBA bust.