Cavaliers Select Canada’s Bennett With Top Pick
BROOKLYN, New York (AFP) – The Cleveland Cavaliers chose Anthony Bennett first overall in the 2013 NBA entry draft, making the University of Nevada Las Vegas forward the highest drafted Canadian ever.
The six-foot-seven Bennett averaged a team-leading 16.1 points and 8.1 rebounds with UNLV.
“There’s no agenda for me,” Bennett said. “I just want to be successful, win championships, and, you know, just win games.”
The Cavalier’s choice late Thursday came as a surprise because prior to the draft many thought they would select center Nerlens Noel, of Kentucky, who ended up going sixth to the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Orlando Magic selected six-foot-four Indiana guard Victor Oladipo with the No. 2 pick while Otto Porter, of Georgetown, was chosen third by the Washington Wizards.
Indiana center Cody Zeller went fourth to the Charlotte Bobcats, while seven-foot-one Alex Lin, of the Ukraine, rounded out the top five.
Bennett joins fellow Canuck Tristan Thompson who was taken fourth overall by the Cavaliers at the 2011 draft.
Bennett was born in Toronto and the scouts like him because he is a strong rebounder and has a nice scoring touch.
He becomes just the second UNLV player to go number one after Larry Johnson, who was chosen first overall in 1991 by the Charlotte Hornets.
The Cavaliers are hoping Bennett can help them forget about the loss of LeBron James, who fled the city for Miami following the 2010 season. James led Miami to an NBA championship this year and was named MVP of the finals.
Cleveland went 24-58 last season and has missed the playoffs for the past three seasons.
The Magic, who finished with the worst record in the NBA (20-62) are pleased to get Oladipo, who shot 44 percent from beyond the arc last season.
The six-foot-nine Porter was the Big East Conference Player of the Year last season after averaging 16.2 points and 7.5 rebounds.
Zeller’s older brother, Tyler, plays for the Cavaliers.
“My goal is to take down my brother,” Cody said. Tyler tweeted his congratulations to his brother.
Guard Ben McLemore was chosen seventh by Sacramento, and Detroit selected guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope of Georgia eighth. Minnesota used the ninth pick to take Trey Burke of Michigan, and CJ McCollum went 10th to Portland.
“I am going to be a gym rat to become a stronger player,” Caldwell-Pope said.
New Zealand’s Steven Adams, who was a freshman last season at the University of Pittsburgh, was selected 12th in the first round by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“This feels amazing,” Adams said. “I am happy to go to OKC. I’m doing it as a Kiwi.”
The seven-foot Adams, of Rotorua, is the youngest of 18 children. His father is British and his mother is from the Tonga Islands.
Adams’ older sister Valerie is a double Olympic gold medal winner for the New Zealand in the shot putt in the Beijing and London Olympics.