Four years after taking Anthony Bennett with the top overall pick, former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin is admitting his L.
In a recent interview with Jason Lloyd of The Athletic, Griffin, who was Cavs VP of basketball operations at the time and not yet their GM, nonetheless took responsbility for being the driving force behind their decision to draft Bennett.
“The issue with Anthony was, and we had no way of knowing it at the time, the kid had no desire to overcome adversity whatsoever,” said Griffin. “As soon as it was hard, he was out. His whole life, he rolled out of bed bigger, better, and more talented than everybody else. As soon as it was hard, it was over.
“And I was the one on campus at UNLV,” he added. “I’m the one who got sold the bill of goods and I bought it hook, line, and sinker. You f— up sometimes. But I feel bad [ex-Cavs GM] Chris [Grant] took it for that, because Chris was the one guy who wasn’t sure.”
Bennett was a disaster from the very start, and the Cavs gave up on him after his rookie season, trading him to Minnesota as a part of the Kevin Love deal. He would play for three NBA teams in the three seasons that followed, each one waiving him within a year. Now, Bennett is out of the league after putting up just 4.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per game in 151 career games, and he may easily go down as the biggest NBA draft bust of all-time.
As for Griffin, he did still enjoy a run of success with the Cavs that culminated with a championship in 2016. But he is now out of a job, and Bennett probably represents one of a number of what-ifs from Griffin’s time in Cleveland.