Whenever a player’s name is associated with the immortal Kwame Brown, it’s generally never good news. Anthony Bennett, the number one pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, joins Kwame as the only other top pick not to be invited to play in the Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star weekend since the event was created. Per the Akron Beacon Journal:
Bennett played 31 minutes in Tuesday’s loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, easily his most extensive time this season. He set a career high with 15 points (his first time in double figures) and tied a career high with eight rebounds. But it’s been a miserable rookie season for Bennett, who is averaging 2.8 points and 2.4 rebounds.
“I give the kid a lot of credit. He’s had a tough start, a really tough start,” Cavs General Manager Chris Grant said Wednesday. “Obviously, we all want all of our players to have success the first day they walk onto the court. But he didn’t. He’s handled it very well and continues to progress and hopefully he can put some more performances like last night together going forward.”
Brown was drafted first overall in 2001, ahead of Tyson Chandler and Pau Gasol. He played for seven teams over 12 indistinguishable seasons. He is now out of the league.
Other top picks, such as Yao Ming and Tim Duncan, have skipped the Rising Stars game because they were invited to play in the actual All-Star Game. Bennett and Brown are the only top picks not to be invited to All-Star weekend in the 20-year history of the rookie/sophomore game.
Seven of the top 10 picks from last summer’s historically weak draft were excluded this season.