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.