It was a very short stint in the D-League. With Toronto and its affiliate playing a double-header Sunday, Anthony Bennett was sent down to the Raptors 905 for one game, scored 13 points, then was recalled immediately to the main Toronto club so he could sit on the bench and have front row seats for the Raptors’ ugly loss to the Kings Sunday.
With that, Bennett became the first No. 1 pick ever sent to the D-League. Former No. 2 pick Hasheem Thabeet had held the honor of highest pick sent down until Sunday.
Former No. 2 pick Hasheem Thabeet had held the honor of highest pick sent down until Sunday. TSN has the Raptors saying this was Bennett’s idea:
“Anthony came to us asking to use this double-header as an opportunity to work on his game,” said Jeff Weltman, Raptors executive vice president of basketball operations. “This is an example of how we envisioned using our D-League team to improve our players.”
Whoever came up with it, this was a good move by the Raptors — frankly the Cavaliers should have done it his rookie season. Bennett was considered a project from the day he was a surprise No. 1 pick and needed to develop out of the spotlight of the NBA. Cavaliers GM Chris Grant reached for him in the draft, but coach Mike Brown wasn’t going to play him, and the result was Bennett (who has skills) never actually developing. To be fair, part of that is on Bennett himself — he has to show the work ethic and dedication needed at the NBA level (particularly 0n defense) to stick. But he wasn’t helped by the situation he fell into.
Bennett has played just 48 minutes total this season for Toronto (after a somewhat promising summer of international ball) and so getting some run in the D-League is smart. He should get more.
(Hat tip the amazing Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie)