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Gary Payton to Anthony Bennett: “Get in shape”

Everyone is well aware of the struggles that rookie forward Anthony Bennett of the Cleveland Cavaliers has gone through.

He’s averaging just 2 points and 2 rebounds a night in 10 minutes of action. Since January 12, however, he hasn’t even been able to get on the court. After failing to appear in last night’s loss to the Chicago Bulls, Bennett has now racked up five straight DNP-CDs.

He was an unexpected choice for the number one overall pick, and Cavs GM Chris Grant is feeling the heat for the selection as Bennett has failed mightily to live up to expectations.

There have also been complaints that along with not being able to produce, Bennett is overweight and out of shape. With the failure to play well, the weight concerns, and injury problems over the summer, Bennett is overwhelmed with things to worry about.

It surely doesn’t help then, that Hall-of-Famer Gary Payton called him out for being out of shape last night on national television. “The Glove” didn’t mince words last night during his “Glove Actually” segment on Fox Sports Live.

Payton said,

You should have been ready. You came in overweight. You look fat. C’mon, let’s do it!

He continued,

Young fella: Take it from me, I’m a Hall-of-Famer. Get in shape. Get ready. You need to prove yourself.

Payton is clearly trying to motivate Bennett with this speech, but Bennett knows these things already. I’m not sure what good this piling on does for the young man out of UNLV. Whatever the issues are, I’m sure he’s working on them with the coaching staff in Cleveland. (I do believe, by the way, that he should be in the D-League, especially if he’s just going to sit on the bench. At least then he can get some minutes and try to get his confidence back.)

Although we’re many months in to this season, I still think it’s too early to give up on Bennett completely. Things don’t look great right now, but we should give him a full, healthy summer and the beginning of next year before we write him off completely.

jmaloney