Irving gives top pick Bennett shot at NBA rookie award

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The NBA was shocked when the Cleveland Cavaliers took Anthony Bennett as the number one pick in this year’s draft.

A shoulder injury saw the forward average just 27 minutes a game in his only college season, which most analysts predicted would prevent him going in the top 10 of the draft.

With Bennett at 14/1 to win the Rookie of the Year Award it’s clear he has his doubters again entering his debut NBA season, but he won’t have to look far to see that success is possible.

His new teammate Kyle Irving was also drafted by Cleveland as the number one draft pick with injury doubts, after averaging just 27.5 minutes in his single year in college due to a toe injury.

But he was able to go on and win the 2012 rookie of the year award, averaging over 30 minutes and 18 points a game.
Not only does Irving provide an example, the point guard can help Bennett on the court.

Bennett’s 53.3 per cent field goal percentage last season would have made him the 15th most accurate shooter in the NBA.

Irving and former LA Laker Andrew Bynum will be the two biggest scoring threats for the Cavs this season, occupying defenders and freeing up space for Bennett.

Bennett has already thrived with extra shooting opportunities in the pre-season games so far, scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter alone during an away win against the Orlando Magic.

He’s also led Cleveland in defensive rebounds and, crucially, minutes played during warm up games as coach Mike Brown looks to build up Bennett’s fitness.

With three of the last five rookie of the year awards going to number one draft picks, Bennett has shown the signs he can join Irving and Cleveland’s only other number one pick, a certain LeBron James, in taking home the prize.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.