After days of speculation over whom the Cleveland Cavaliers would take with the top pick in the 2013 NBA draft, the Cavs surprised almost everyone (including maybe the pick himself) and selected UNLV forward Anthony Bennett.
Speculation before the draft had the Cavs taking one of a trio Victor Oladipo, Alex Len or Nerlens Noel, and at no point in ESPN's 30 minute pre-draft show did they even mention the possibility of Bennett going with the first overall pick.
Did that really just happen?! Even Anthony Bennett and his camp didn't think he was going No. 1.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 27, 2013
The only thing certain about whom the top pick would be was the uncertainty surrounding it.
Bennett had actually been rumored to be a faller in the draft and some had thought that he could come close to falling out of the top 10.
Becoming harder to map a scenario where UNLV's Anthony Bennett doesn't slide on board. He could leave Portland with choice at No. 10.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 27, 2013
Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant has surprised people before with his picks of Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson in the top five of the draft, but neither was as surprising as this one.
Ladies and gentlemen, Chris Grant! He doesn't care what anyone thinks. Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters and now Anthony Bennett.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 27, 2013
As is true with any bold pick like this, there have been many who've panned the pick, saying the Cavaliers should have gone with a safer choice.
There's no way around this - Anthony Bennett was a terrible pick. Like him a lot, but he'll eat his way out of the league before he's a star— Jason McIntyre (@TheBigLead) June 27, 2013
I didn't see enough of Anthony Bennett, but what I did see didn't scream No. 1 overall. Bizarre pick.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) June 27, 2013
This criticism is largely without merit, though, as the draft was widely viewed as lacking in top-tier talent.
Noel and Len were coming off surgery and had injury concerns, and Oladipo didn't make a lot of sense for a team that took Waiters with the fourth pick in last year's draft.
Bennett has as much upside as anyone in the draft due to his ability as a power forward to shoot the ball from range. He can run the floor well and, with a 7'1" wing span, he has some defensive potential too.
There is definitely some question as to how he will fit with a team that already has Thompson at power forward, and many teams were concerned with his weight gain prior to the draft, but the pros outweigh the cons.
Cleveland's decision to take Bennett was simple per Cavs: "Best talent."— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) June 27, 2013
In a draft where nearly all the top players had some question marks, the Cavaliers got a player with huge upside with the No. 1 pick in the draft.