Anthony Bennett’s conditioning has been a concern this preseason — he has been sucking wind, which isn’t a huge surprise considering he was coming off shoulder surgery that kept in off the court from April until recently.
Then on Thursday night comes a story from the Associated Press talking about how Bennett suffers from asthma and sleep apnea, suggesting that contributes to his conditioning issues. The kicker is the line, “Bennett’s asthma was not widely known” before the draft.
Um, it was to anybody and any team paying attention. And if teams weren’t it is on them.
As noted by Ben Standig at CSNWashington.com, here is a paragraph from Sports Illustrated’s blog The Point Forward on Bennett from before the draft (emphasis added).
He’s a bit undersized, even though his 7-1 wingspan helps make up for the height deficiency, and he doesn’t have a terribly developed back-to-the-basket game. Combine that with the relative lack of fitness shown in this lone college season — exacerbated by asthma, which may limit his conditioning, ceiling — and you have a decision to make as a general manager. Do you think Bennett will round out his offensive arsenal beyond being a perimeter-oriented 4 in the halfcourt, and will he be able to get and stay in NBA shape and avoid nagging injuries that can derail a promising career?
There also are radio interviews where Bennett talks about his asthma. Draft Express talked about his stock falling pre-draft (which was the consensus, obviously a wrong one in hindsight) because of the asthma concerns. I could go on and on with other reports, but you get the idea.
While it may be fashionable to poke fun at Cleveland’s front office, I don’t think they are so incompetent to have missed what everyone else knew. They knew, they thought it was manageable. It may well be, there are others with asthma in the league. It’s just so far it has exacerbated an issue.
The reports of sleep apnea are not something I heard, but again as thorough as teams are it’s hard to believe they missed this.
So Bennett has asthma, it can be a story. Just not a new one.