Bennett from the UNLV shakes hands with NBA Commissioner Stern after being selected by the Cavaliers as the first overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft in Brooklyn

Anthony Bennett to Cavaliers kick-starts wild, unpredictable draft


NEW YORK – Anthony Bennett began shaking his head side to side just as a reporter began a question about whether Bennett saw any signs of becoming the No. 1 pick.

The question was the only thing Bennett – and the rest of us – saw coming tonight.

Against all odds, the Cavaliers passed on Nerlens Noel, Alex Len, Ben McLemore, Victor Oladipo and everyone else to choose Bennett with the top pick.

“I’m just as surprised as everybody else,” Bennett said.

Of course, The Cavaliers continued their trend of trying to prove they’re smarter than everyone else. Tristan Thompson at No. 4 in 2011, Dion Waiters  at No. 4 in 2012 and now Anthony Bennett in 2013 – Cleveland has reached for a player who seemed to be ranked lower by the consensus.

Pre-draft rumors at least linked the Cavaliers to Waiters, and even it’s never publically reported, teams often notify their intended pick before the draft. But Bennett said he never received that courtesy.

“When they said my name, that’s when I knew,” Bennett said.

As tonight falls into a distant memory, few will remember where Bennett went in mock drafts leading up to the real thing. History will forever record Anthony Bennett as the No. 1 pick of the 2013 NBA Draft, and that’s how he and Cleveland will be remembered.

Bennett believes his meeting with the Cavaliers made them remember him.

“I just feel like my personality, I can open up to anybody,” Bennett said. “I can play play with anybody.”

To some, it might have seemed like the Cavs just drafted just anybody. And maybe they did, but regardless of the shock their selection provided tonight, maybe the real surprise will come when Bennett proves himself worthy next season.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.