In the world we live in, Mike Brown says people expect things to happen yesterday.
In the case of No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett, expectations were sky-high for the UNLV product.
“Everyone expects him (to be) averaging 20 (points) and 15 (rebounds), right now,” the Cavaliers coach said. “But there’s a patience factor that we’re going to have, that I’m able to have with him. In time, you guys will be able to see how good he is.”
That’s purely a projection right now, especially after one examines his statistics in his first nine games. He’s averaging 1.6 points and 2.7 rebounds and is shooting 14.3 percent from the field and 8.3 percent from behind the 3-point arc.
He’s off to the worst start of any No. 1 pick in NBA history.
The 6-foot-8, 259-pounder has fallen out of Brown’s rotation, and rightfully so. Earl Clark is starting at small forward, but also getting many of the backup minutes at power forward.
“Right now, Earl is going to play some ‘4,’ so that means limited backup minutes for AB,” Brown said. “But I tell you what, (Bennett) probably had his best two practices of the year (Tuesday) and (Monday).”
Bennett will have to make his move on the practice court if he expects to get back in Brown’s rotation.
“He had a couple of dunks today in traffic where you go, ‘OK, this is what I know I’ve seen before,’ ” Brown said Tuesday. “I said this at the beginning of the year, not only him, but Carrick Felix does some stuff that makes you raise an eyebrow, same with Sergey (Karasev).
“The luxury about what we have going right now is we don’t necessarily need to press these guys into heavy minutes. We have some veterans who can step up and play those minutes until those guys are ready.”
The 20-year-old Bennett missed his first 16 shots this season before he buried a 3-pointer.
“It’s been an up-and-down thing for him,” Brown said. “The hard part about it is, while trying to build someone’s confidence, you want to try to win some ballgames.”
Tristan Thompson is the starting power forward and is averaging 36 minutes a game. He’s also on the verge of averaging a double-double (13.1 points, 9.9 rebounds), something only 12 players in the league are doing.
“That’s the biggest thing, especially when you have some veteran guys who have played the game at a high level, is that they are able to take some minutes while someone else is feeling their way,” Brown said. “So from that standpoint, it’s not necessarily hard, because we have some guys that can come in and play for him, and he can continue to gain his confidence slowly, without it being force-fed.”