Former Cavaliers GM Chris Grant Didn't Want Anthony Bennett No. 1 in 2013 Draft

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 24, 2017

Cleveland Cavaliers' Anthony Bennett (15) makes a free throw shot against the Orlando Magic during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game in Orlando, Fla., Friday, Oct. 11, 2013.(AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

Former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant reportedly didn't want to select UNLV power forward Anthony Bennett with the first overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft. 

On Tuesday, Jason Lloyd of The Athletic provided an excerpt from his new book, The Blueprint: LeBron James, Cleveland's Deliverance and the Making of the Modern NBA, focused on the selection of Bennett, who's become one of the biggest busts in draft history.

"So when the Cavs front office sat down before the draft to cast their vote on who to take, the final tally was 9-1 in favor of Bennett," Lloyd wrote. "The one vote against taking him? Chris Grant."

Lloyd noted Grant was more interested in University of Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore, who would ultimately get selected seventh by the Sacramento Kings. The former Cavs GM even tried acquiring the No. 7 pick before the Kings backed out when McLemore was still available.

One NBA team told Lloyd after the 2013 draft it had taken Bennett off its board completely before draft night. And David Griffin, who was the team's vice president of basketball operations at the time of the pick and took over the GM role from Grant in 2014, didn't provide a glowing review of the forward.

"The issue with Anthony was, and we had no way of knowing it at the time, the kid had no desire to overcome adversity whatsoever. As soon as it was hard, he was out," Griffin explained to Lloyd. "His whole life, he rolled out of bed bigger, better, and more talented than everybody else. As soon as it was hard, it was over. And I was the one on campus at UNLV. I'm the one who got sold the bill of goods and I bought it hook, line, and sinker. You f--k up sometimes. But I feel bad Chris took it for that, because Chris was the one guy who wasn't sure."

Bennett looked the part of a future star during his time with the Runnin' Rebels at the collegiate level. He averaged 16.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks while shooting 53.3 percent from the field, including 37.5 percent from beyond the arc, across 35 games.

His skill set never translated to the next level, though. He lasted a single season with the Cavaliers before making stops with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets, which also featured some stints in the G-League.

In all, he averaged 4.4 points and 3.1 rebounds while playing less than 13 minutes per contest across 151 NBA appearances.

He recently spent time with Fenerbahce in Turkey and then signed with the Phoenix Suns in September, but he got released before the start of the regular season.

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