What's Anthony Bennett Up To These Days?

Anthony Bennett
Anthony Bennett / Mike Stobe/GettyImages

It's easy to reach for the cliché and declare Anthony Bennett an infamous name that will live on in the memories of NBA fans all over the world, but that isn't really true. Sure, Bennett is the biggest NBA draft bust of the 21st century and has an argument for being the biggest bust of all-time, but when was the last time you thought about him? Infamy requires people to remember him.

Bennett doesn't have the staying power that Greg Oden or Ryan Leaf shared. Maybe it's because the guy who went behind him, Victor Oladipo, didn't turn out to be a superstar that the Cleveland Cavaliers missed out on by *that* much. Or maybe it's because LeBron James returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers one year after the draft and immediately washed away the catastrophic mistake the franchise made by selecting him. No matter the reason, Bennett faded into irrelevance in a way very few No. 1 overall picks ever have.

As the 2023 NBA Draft approaches, I found myself wondering what Bennett was up to these days. It's been 10 years since he was picked. Many of the guys in his draft class still have jobs around the league, even on the non-superstar level. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, picked eighth, just won a championship as a key cog for the Denver Nuggets. C.J. McCollum is the president of the NBAPA with a nine-figure contract. In a different timeline Bennett could still be a productive, well-paid NBA player even if he was never fated to be a star.

But he is not. So what's he doing instead?

Before we answer that question, we must trace the timeline of his career. After Bennett was drafted by the Cavs and everyone quickly found out they had made a mistake on a Gob Bluth level, he got traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Kevin Love trade. The 2014-15 season was the best of his NBA career, as he played in 57 games and averaged 15.7 points per game. However he did so while shooting 42 percent from the floor and was bought out in September of 2015.

Bennett then went back to Canada to play for Toronto but only managed to appear in 19 contests and averaged fewer than five minutes per game in the 2015-16 season. He spent half of the 2016-17 season with the Brooklyn Nets on a roster that won 20 games as he failed to compete with Randy Foye and K.J. McDaniels for minutes before being released in January of 2017. That marked the end of Bennett's time in the NBA, and the first opportunity for him to travel across the sea.

It happened quite quickly, too! Four days after getting waived by Brooklyn, Bennett signed with Fenerbahçe in the Turkish Super Basketball League. He appeared in 10 games, averaged 1.3 points and 1.0 rebounds, and sat on the bench as Fenerbahçe won its first-ever championship. So Bennett is a champion in an undeniable regard. Then he got released again.

Bennett went back across the Atlantic and bounced around the G-League for a few years after that. He played for the Northern Arizona Suns, the Maine Red Claws, and the Agua Caliente Clippers from 2017-2019 with a spot appearance for the Canadian National Team in between. He played well enough over that stretch (averaging double-digit points per game) to earn a one-year deal with the Houston Rockets ahead of the 2019 season. But he had to undergo knee surgery and was waived before the season began.

That was the last we saw of Bennett on this continent. He was briefly a member of the Cangrejeros de Santurce in the Puerto Rican Baloncesto Superior Nacional in the summer of 2021 but never played a game for the team before getting released. He ended up in Israel later that year, playing for Hapoel Jerusalem from August to January 2022 and averaged 12 minutes per game before he was released.

That brings us to the end of Bennett's arc. He signed with the Kaohsiung Steelers in Taiwan in January of 2022, played there for a season. Then he joined the Hsinchu JKO Lioneers and is currently on their roster. This past season he averaged a hilarious 40 minutes per game, putting up 22.6 points per contest. As with Dwight Howard, Bennett took full advantage of the opportunity to put up some dumb stat lines overseas.

Ultimately Bennett fell into the category of a player with the athleticism to play professionally but just couldn't put it all together to play in the best league in the world. That's not an unusual occurrence but Bennett is the highest-drafted player to play in Taiwan and thus it's notable.

Will there ever be another like Bennett? It feels exceptionally unlikely. Ben Simmons seems like a possible candidate. He was also a top pick who has disappointed and might just peace out from the NBA after his current contract expires to go home and play in Australia. But he played well enough in the big leagues to earn a max contract, so even he can't really compare.

So that's what Anthony Bennett is up to these days. In case you were wondering.