From the 2013 NBA draft’s first overall pick to the D League, Europe and now back again, former Timberwolves forward Anthony Bennett is in the newly named G League, playing at age 24 to prove there’s still a place for him in the NBA.
The first Canadian drafted first overall when Cleveland did so, Bennett has played for the Cavaliers, Wolves, his hometown Raptors and Nets, and he also spent time with two D League teams in the past four years. He played in Istanbul last season and now is with Phoenix’s Northern Arizona G League team after the Suns signed him in September and waived him in October.
This time, Bennett hopes he and his situation both are different.
“I guess my focus is different,” he said after his team’s 141-140 victory over the Timberwolves’ Iowa team Thursday in Prescott Valley, Ariz. “I wouldn’t say this is my last chance, but, you know, I just have to prove to everybody that I can play.”
Longtime friend Andrew Wiggins became the second Canadian drafted first overall when the Cavs selected him in 2014. They played one season together in Minnesota after both were traded in an August 2014 deal for Kevin Love.
Last month, Wiggins signed a contract extension that could approach $150 million.
“He definitely got a big one,” Bennett said. “I’m happy for him. All the things he has been through in high school, college, he definitely deserves it.”
Bennett, meanwhile, is hoping his rebounding, defense and passing will bring him back to the NBA, both for himself and his adorable five-month-old son, Zayden.
“If I do that, everything will take care of itself,” Bennett said. “I’ve just got to go harder for him to make sure his life is straight, too.”