The Celtics need the offense that Bentil provides
The summer league so far has been a bit of a roller coaster for the Boston Celtics. After going 3-0 in the Utah summer league, averaging 92.6 points a game, they striggled in Las Vegas – losing three of four, while only averaging 78.5 points per game.
One player who hasn’t seen much playing time during this period has been Ben Bentil. The Celtics, who need to improve offensively, could really use him as a key rotation player to take advantage of his offensive skills and his ability to stretch the floor. While he fits the mold of a modern-day power forward, Bentil can also play the small forward and center positions.
The former Providence Friar stands at 6’8”, 230 pounds, with a 7’1” wingspan. After having a quiet freshmen year, Bentil exploded onto the college basketball scene in his sophomore year, leading the Big East in scoring and finishing 4th in rebounds – averaging 21.1 points per game. He did this playing alongside lottery pick Kris Dunn, who was viewed as the star of the team.
Last year, Bentil ranked sixth in the Big East in free-throw percentage – 78.8 percent. This is even more impressive because Bentil’s hand length measured in at an incredible 9.5 inches, the longest at the combine.
He shot a decent 32.9 percent from three-point range, and ranked second in offensive win shares in the Big East. Statistically, he is one of the most impressive players in this year’s draft class. It is also relevant to mention that Providence as a team finished 4th in the Big East with a 24-11 record and made the NCAA Tournament.
Offensively, Bentil has many parts to his game. Along with his ability to shoot, he is comfortable posting up and using his body in the paint. He is also a very strong mid-range shooter. From an offensive standpoint, Bentil has similar abilities to the likes ofDraymond Green, Paul Millsap and Patrick Patterson.
During the summer league Bentil hasn’t seen his fair share of playing time. The Celtics reduced Bentil’s minutes in Las Vegas to just 8.7 minutes per game, which is not enough to make a significant impact. However in Utah Bentil played around 15 minutes per game, averaging 8.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 53 percent from the field. Given his limited playing time, Bentil was as productive as one could be.
It seems perplexing as to why Bentil didn’t play as much in Vegas. His best game so far was against the Philadelphia 76ers, where in 17 minutes of action he totaled 11 points on an efficient 50 percent and shot 33 percent from three. Bentil went four-of-four from the free-throw line and only turned the ball over once. In addition to grabbing six rebounds, he also had the second highest plus-minus with a plus-10.
One fault with Bentil’s game is his tendency to foul. In Utah, he averaged around 3.5 fouls per game. This being said, the summer league foul limit is 10 fouls, showing that Bentil is playing physically and is taking advantage of the liberal foul limit.
Another area of Bentil’s game that he needs to work on is his defense. There are significant concerns with his pick-and-roll defense and his inability to guard smaller, quicker guards. This could be a result of playing mostly center for Providence, where he was rarely required to guard perimeter players. If Bentil wants to make the next step and be an effective roll player for the Celtics, he needs to be able to guard against smaller forwards in addition to larger centers.
With the release of Jared Sullinger, the Celtics could use another big body in their rotation. With the exception of Al Horford off the bench, the Celtics do not have a big man who can both stretch the floor and post up down low. Brad Stevens has expressed before that he loves players who can play different positions, and Bentil, offensively, is exactly that type of player.
The Celtics should stay with Bentil. Even if this means sending him down to the D-League for a year in order for him to work on his defense, the Celtics should certainly take the time to develop him into an NBA defender. Lets hope that Brad Stevens and the Celtics can see his skills and stick with him.
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