The Nets’ move to wave former No. 1 overall selection Anthony Bennett Monday is a reminder that, were LeBron James born somewhere not in the geographic neighborhood of Cleveland, the Cavaliers would still be the poorly run, tone-deaf joke of the league.
Jalen Rose often makes a point that resonates deeply with me, and makes the constant pitter-patter of the Bill Simmons types seem like a moot point.
Rose argues, correctly, in my opinion, that there is no such thing as a bust in the NBA.
The meat-and-bones is this — You made the National Basketball League, you defied the odds, and you made some money. That’s not a bust.
Greg Oden recently came out in a sad-sack interview and acknowledged openly the magnitude of his status as a bust. Kevin Durant, famously chosen a spot behind him, came to his defense with a similar argument. Essentially, just because they say you’re a bust, doesn’t mean you have to believe them.
All of this is especially fresh in my mind today, after hearing that Anthony Bennett, the first name called in the 2013 NBA Draft, was cut by the Brooklyn Nets, the lowliest team in the NBA.
I certainly don’t know Bennett — have never read a sprawling magazine piece on him. Don’t know if he’s a good guy, bad guy, or somewhere in between. I know he’s Canadian, I know he was a Running Rebel, and I know he never had any business being the No. 1 pick.
I think he knows that. I think he probably knows that — fair or not — the worst No. 1 overall pick in the history of the league is preceded by his name.
Greg Oden is a what-if, Bennett is a what-the-hell. In parts of 151 games on four different teams, he’s amassed averages of 12.6 minutes per game and five points per game. His career Player Efficiency Rating — 10.3 — is that of a fringe tenth man.
In the end, that’s exactly what he was. Perhaps he will get another chance somewhere, for an NBA team or a team in Europe, but for now, he’s a nondescript 6-foot-8 non-shooter without a position or home in basketball, and he’s only 23.
All of that is fact.
But so is this:
What’s your job? Are you good at it? Do you see yourself at your job in 20 years? How much do you make?
Did you just float around a select group of the best athletes in the world for four years, flying first class to some of the best cities in the world, staying in the best hotels in the world for free?
Did you just make $15 Million to do it? Do you have a hometown that’s proud of you, a college coach that can boast the No. 1 pick of the best basketball league in the world?
An alibi? Were you wrongfully selected 14 spots ahead of the Greek Freak? 26 ahead of Rudy Gobert?
Were you considered for a time — brief as it may be — the best available amateur basketball player in the entire world?
No? None of those things?
Well, then, you’re a bust, and Anthony Bennett is a man who just conned the NBA out of $15 Million over four years.
Good luck, you bust.