Haters Gonna Hate

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If you saw a 20-year old college kid struggling for minutes against veteran NBA players would you criticize him?

If the same player went from playing near 20 minutes during preseason to getting almost nothing in the regular season would you keep lobbing barbs his way?

Do you believe in giving promising players time and space to develop?

If so then get off Anthony Bennett’s back.

The level of childish criticism the Canadian big man has received from all over the internet and the NBA media during the first few weeks of the regular season has been nothing short of disgusting.

Every moron who stood over a microphone and said “I’ve got as many NBA points as Anthony Bennett” should go head butt a mirror.

Bennett may have been the number one pick in the NBA Draft but to start putting him in the biggest busts ever list, after just a few games and limited opportunity, is foolish in the extreme.

Everyone who saw him play in college knew he was a long-term pick by a team which already had depth at his primary position, power forward.

The vast majority of previous number one picks have had a ready-made starting position available and all the minutes they could play on low-profile, losing teams.

Bennett’s Cavs are aiming for a playoff spot.  They have a high-profile coach in Mike Brown, a legitimate top-10 superstar in Kyrie Irving and free agent signing Andrew Bynum whose plight always grabs attention.

When Kyrie Irving or John Wall arrived in the league their sides were ordinary and lacked top-end talent.  As natural playmakers they stood out and were able to notch some nice stats in their rookie years.

Bennett is not that kind of player.  He is explosive, exciting and has legitimate range on his jump shot but he needs the ball and he needs minutes on the court.

He is not getting either at the minute as Tristan Thompson has clearly put in a mountain of work during the offseason and is holding down the starting power forward spot for the Cavaliers playing 35 minutes or more in all Cavs games so far.

Anyone who watched Bennett in preseason play can see that he has explosive athleticism, can shoot the rock and can go to work in the paint.

But he is just 20 years old and won’t get the minutes other number one picks have received in the past.

Instead he will go to work on the practice court and in the gym.  Maybe you won’t see the results until next season but Bennett is no bust.

He will prove the doubters wrong and make a name for himself in the NBA, it just won’t happen right away.

I hope all the haters save up some hard-earned to buy his jersey when he becomes a star.

Author of the article

After leading my under-18 side in baldness and bench minutes I realised my basketball talents were best outside the court. I’ve covered basketball and other sports for Fairfax Media and Rural Press, I’m proud to have met and told the stories of many of Australia’s best basketballers both in country and overseas. I love basketball in all forms and all levels. Follow me on twitter: @downtownball