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Of all the rookies this season, Anthony Bennett must improve the most before his sophomore season.
His selection by the Cleveland Cavaliers at No. 1 overall shocked many, most notably Bill Simmons, and his lack of production has shocked many more.
Bennett is averaging just 4.1 points and 2.9 rebounds as the first overall selection, shooting just 35.2 percent from the field and 24.5 percent from three. As with many rookies, such as Porter Jr. or Len, Bennett came into the season after being injured.
He underwent rotator cuff surgery before the draft and missed "all NBA pre-draft workouts, the NBA draft combine and summer league," per a report from ESPN.com.
Things have only become worse for Bennett, as he'll miss three weeks with a strained left knee.
Without making excuses for him, Bennett has had a tough time going from recovery to immediately into the fray of the NBA style of play, never really getting a chance to adjust.
Even so, Bennett will carry the burden of being a first overall pick with him for the rest of his career. Only, it would cease to be as heavy a load with some improvement.
His offensive game hasn't worked for him so far, as he's shooting 23.9 percent on jumpers and 39.3 percent on layups. Per NBA.com, Bennett rarely defers from either attempt, with dunks being his next most-attempted shot (34-of-142 attempted jumpers, 11-of-28 layups and 5-of-9 dunks).
Bennett's numbers did jump to 7.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in 17.4 minutes through February, and he shot 57.1 percent in four games before his injury in March.
As unlikely as it might seem, Bennett will be just fine going forward. He still has a lot to prove, and a lot to improve on, but his skill set and style of play will eventually fit. It's just a matter of staying healthy for Bennett and keeping at it despite the naysayers.
Bennett's numbers aren't that for a No. 1 draft pick, but they will be in time. He's shown the ability to score and rebound as this season has continued, with a slow start overshadowing his improvement.
It's only a matter of time before he gets comfortable in the NBA, and with his team. And that can come as soon as next season.
Highlights from Bennett's career-best 19-point, 10-rebound game on Feb. 11 against the Sacramento Kings.