Anthony Bennett Is 5th No. 1 Pick in 26 Years to Miss NBA All-Rookie Team

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Anthony Bennett Is 5th No. 1 Pick in 26 Years to Miss NBA All-Rookie Team
USA TODAY Sports

The good news is that Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Anthony Bennett just joined some historical NBA company.

The bad news is that he'd probably prefer not to have joined said company.

Bennett's unfortunate exclusion from the All-Rookie Team definitely stings, but it's hardly a surprise. The No. 1 overall pick had a dreadful statistical season. He averaged just 4.2 points and three rebounds on 35.6 percent shooting in 52 uninspiring games.

A shoulder injury hampered his preseason conditioning, and Bennett struggled with asthma and an inability to play himself into shape during the year. As a result, he didn't just miss out on finishing as one of the league's better rookies.

Put simply, he fell short of virtually all of his first-year peers.

Per Basketball-Reference.com, there were no fewer than 43 rookies (of those who logged at least 20 games) during the 2013-14 season who posted a higher player efficiency rating than Bennett's woeful figure of 6.9. And if we tweak the numbers to only include rookies who played as many games as Bennett did (52), his PER ranks dead last.

And even when measured against those other four No. 1 picks who also missed out on an All-Rookie nod, Bennett doesn't compare favorably.

Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

Greg Oden missed his entire rookie season with an injury. Danny Manning blew out his knee after just 26 contests in his first year and Pervis Ellison's inaugural campaign was also cut short by 48 games because of an injury.

Kwame Brown stayed physically healthy enough to play 57 games as a rookie, but he suffered some serious mental and emotional battering at the hands of dissatisfied team president Michael Jordan. I'm not sure anybody could have withstood that.

Back in April, Bennett lamented the difficulties of his first year as a pro to USA Today, via HoopsHype.com, saying: 

It's been a grind. Through injuries and getting hurt right now. The travel schedule, I'll say, is pretty long. The games, too. I never knew the season would be this long; 82 games is really tough. Traveling, West Coast to East Coast and then going back and forth to other cities.

But hey, at least somebody showed him some love.

Cleveland has yet another No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft, so the franchise will get a shot—however seemingly undeserved it may be—to make up for the much-maligned Bennett selection last year. This crop of incoming rookies is far superior to the one Bennett headed in 2013, so it will be hard for the Cavs to duplicate the disappointment of Bennett's lost campaign.

Of course, if Cleveland does botch another No. 1 pick, there's a good chance it will just wind up winning the lottery again. That seems to be how it works.

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