Anthony Bennett had his Raptors 905 debut Sunday, Raptors 905 finally got their revenge against the Delaware 87ers, winning 105- 94.
Despite some silky smooth plays and highlight reel finishes at the rim, it was a tough day for Bennett overall. He finished with 13 points and 4 rebounds, which is respectable but he also needed 16 shots and was a -5 in plus/minus differential.
Despite that performance, there is an argument that this is a very good thing for Bennett and being part of the Raptors 905 organization may be the best thing that could have happened in his professional career.
Fact is Bennett has struggled mightily in his NBA career and his latest stint with the Toronto Raptors club has not necessarily been inspiring. In his life as a Raptor, he has had a total of 14 points and 15 rebounds, but he has only played 48 minutes; playing with the Raptors 905 means Bennett should see more playing time. For example in his Debut against the Sevens, Bennett, in one game with the 905 got half the game experience he’s been getting playing with the Raptors in his entire stint there, playing 24 minutes. Obviously talent level is different but Bennett will have an opportunity to develop his skills and find moves that work for him.
Diminishing skills due to lack of playing time is a real thing.
There really is no substitute for a high-level basketball game and that is what the D-league can provide every night. Bennett will now get to keep his skills polished, as well as develop them, which is something Bennett may need. To most fans, it seems like Anthony Bennett is a veteran but he is only 22 and in the second year of the league. Like any 22-year old in the NBA system, Bennett can get better.
Bennett will not only get development, but will also get repetitions. One of the knocks on Bennett is that he has bad conditioning. It is hard to keep one’s conditioning up while dealing with the injuries Bennett has had to deal with (its been a rough ride for him) but It's hard to deny that his conditioning has been an issue, and staying on the bench with the Raptors does not help that at all.
Bennett is now healthy, thus, he needs to run in professional games on a consistent basis in order to stay in shape. While weights, jogging, and off-season training helps, nothing is like in-game workouts in a high level sport.
Even things like in game instincts, drawing fouls etc. will only be improved by Bennett playing in the D-League. The only drawback is that Bennett most likely will be called up by the big club relatively soon but if I am Masai Ujiri, which I am not, I would consider keeping Bennett in the 905 system a bit longer. Bennett might come out of it a better player due to playing experience. It might be what he needs.