(I normally don’t write about sports on here, but I watch it from a distance and have as little emotional investment.
I have given up on Anthony Bennett.
Giving up on Anthony Bennett’s potential within 3 months of the season seems premature but no respectable* player in NBA’s modern era (86-87 to present, that’s all I can find stats for) has started out as poorly or had as long of a sustained stretch of mediocrity as Anthony Bennett has had.
Quantifying someone’s contribution to an nba game is subjective, but one stat that is out there is a someone’s game score. I know it’s not perfect because it doesn’t highlight the contributions of defensive-minded players like bruce bowen, kurt thomas, Ben wallace, etc. But it’s used quite often and represents how a player contributes to a game.
(here’s the formula for it: http://www.basketball-reference.com/about/glossary.html search for GmSc)
Let’s take a look at Anthony Bennett so far this year.
He has only had 1 game with a game score above 5 (dec. 31, 2013, vs. pacers) http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/201312310IND.html and in all but 2 these 27 games, he’s played more than 5 minutes.
Anthony Bennett has had streaks of 15 and 10 consecutive games with this mediocre performance of game score less than 5.
So, here’s a list of players who have had the most consecutive games of a game score below 5 and have at least played 5 minutes in a game… The players that Bennett has had company with:
04-05 through 08-09
08-09 through 13-14
Heck, if we remove the 5 minute requirement, Bennett’s streak was at 24 games!
Here are those lists for consecutive game scores less than 5, regardless of minutes played.
08-09 through 13-14:
(Look whose name are on there! Former Cavs Sasha Pavlovic and Diop; fellow recent lottery draft busts Jan Vesely and Austin Rivers…) Not far down is another bust, Austin Rivers…)
02-03 to 07-08:
90-91 TO 95-96 http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pstreak.cgi?request=1&player_id=&year_min=1991&year_max=1996&team_id=&opp_id=&is_playoffs=N&game_location=&is_starter=&c1stat=&c1comp=lt&c1val=&c2stat=game_score&c2comp=le&c2val=5&c3stat=&c3comp=ge&c3val=&c4stat=&c4comp=ge&c4val=
Out of these lists of hundreds of players who have played as lousy for such a sustained stretch, does anyone respectable appear? Do you even recognize any of those names?! (Yes I do, and that’s not a compliment to me..)
Would you want any of those players on your team or heck, even as a starter who would also receive minutes in crunch time and the fourth quarter?
What respectable players share these honors with AB? Mike Bibby, Ben Wallace (who, I’d argue, was the best defensive player in the 2000s, is an anomaly since his strength was so much on defense and took very few shots, leading to a low game score), Lou Williams, Rashard Lewis, Andrew Bynum, and Elden Campbell, are some notable names out of the hundreds who appeared on those lists. There’s a few more (Shawn Kemp) whose names appear AFTER they hit their prime and were then scrubby role players.
What lottery picks are on this list? Anyone who was deserved to be taken as a #1 pick?!
Fact is, only a very small percentage of players who were at least as good as a respectable starter have ever played that poorly over such a sustained stretch at any point in their career.
Despite such a small sample size, AB has already committed such a sustained stretch of mediocrity that very few NBA players have experienced regardless of the success of their career.
His probability to be a future star or even a viable starter or key rotation player in the NBA is dwindling by the day.