Even before he didn't play a minute in a 120-118 victory over the Lakers on Tuesday night, rookie Anthony Bennett was being asked whether he'd be interested in going down to play with the Cavaliers' owned-and-operated NBA Development League franchise in Canton. "It's something I'd think about, for sure," Bennett said before Tuesday's game. "It's not a bad thing, especially going down there, hopefully playing a lot, going out there, building my confidence." Of course, it's not really up to Bennett. A few young players have asked to be sent down so they could get some playing time, but no No. 1 overall pick has ever been sent to the D-League. Hasheem Thabeet, the No. 2 pick by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2009, did spend time there, as did Minnesota's Shabazz Muhammad, the No. 14 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, this season. For now, Bennett says he's just trying to make up for a lost summer after shoulder surgery. As recently as three weeks ago in Boston, he referred to himself as ''clueless.'' "It's a learning process, and all I can do is just work hard, you know?'' he said. "I'm just patient. I missed the whole summer due to the surgery, so I'm kind of behind in everything, trying to catch up on everything. Like I said before, the only thing I can really do is work hard. It doesn't show much in the games, but in practice I've been going hard. My conditioning is a lot better. I lost weight and everything. So it's coming along slowly.'' Bennett is averaging 2.4 points and 2.2 rebounds in about 10 minutes a game. He's shooting just 26.9 percent (29 of 108). Much like Dion Waiters last year as a rookie, he relies too much on jumpers instead of driving to the basket. About a quarter of his shots have been 3-pointers. He has made just four, or 14.3 percent. To this point, the Cavs have resisted a Canton assignment, believing they can monitor his progress and development more carefully if he remains with the team. "We've been able to find minutes for AB, from time to time, whether it's at the small forward or power forward," coach Mike Brown said on Tuesday. "That hasn't been a bridge we've crossed yet." Bennett was asked what he thought had to happen for him to gain more confidence.
Cavaliers rookie Anthony Bennett would be open to playing in NBA D-League
Cleveland Plain Dealer | Jan 16