Revelation of Bennett's asthma not so relevatory

Revelation of Bennett's asthma not so relevatory
October 17, 2013, 11:30 pm
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(David Richard/ USA Today Sports)

The Associated Press posted this report on Thursday about rookie Anthony Bennett, the No. 1 overall pick in June's draft:

Cleveland Cavaliers rookie forward Anthony Bennett, the top pick in this year's NBA draft, has asthma and sleep apnea.

Cleveland coach Mike Brown revealed Bennett's conditions Thursday night before the Cavs hosted the Detroit Pistons in an exhibition game. Bennett's asthma was not widely known and obviously did not prevent the Cavs from taking the former UNLV star in June's draft.

Sounds like breaking news.

It's not.

As interested Wizards fans recall pre-draft, Bennett's conditioning was a concern and a primary knock against the then 6-foot-7 UNLV freshman. Draft pundits wavered between Bennett and Otto Porter for Washington at No. 3 before the trend had the former Georgetown star staying in town. Obviously, there was no choice for Washington once Bennett went first.

One source at the time blamed conditioning issues on Bennett's bout's with asthma. Another source downplayed the asthma as a cover for the young player's lack of fitness. Either way, the reports of him having asthma existed. 

There are also quotes from Bennett talking about having asthma.

This from on the night the Cavaliers selected Bennett first overall:

Weaknesses: Is he a small forward or power forward? Which position will he be able to guard in the NBA? Bennett is undersized as a power forward and could struggle to keep up with small forwards. A better post-up game would help round out his offensive game. Bennett missed pre-draft workouts and will be unavailable for summer league after having rotator cuff surgery on his left shoulder in early May, but he’s expected to be ready for next season. As for his asthma, Bennett downplayed concerns: “It’s not a big deal. It’s not like I’m the first one in the NBA to have it. It’s just something I’ve got to take care of.”

If the player is talking about his asthma - and based on my quick internet search doing so as far back as April - the idea that it wasn't "widely known" doesn't compute. 

Apparently he's had an up-and-down preseason to date (though the ups have been impressive) while dealing with, you guessed it, conditioning issues. More from the AP:

Bennett has had some breathing issues during workouts and in preseason games, and him being sometimes winded had been attributed to him not being able to work out as much this summer after undergoing shoulder surgery in May. But Brown said Bennett also deals with asthma and wears a mask at night for his sleep apnea.

"It's a culmination of a lot of things," Brown said. "The shoulder, he's been out for a while, he's got asthma. We're throwing a lot at him. He's probably never played this hard against this competition in his life. He's got sleep apnea and some other things. He likes to stay up late."

The claims of sleep apnea is new to me, but It seems illogical teams would not have known or checked pre-draft considering the asthma. 

Now, none of this discrepancy has anything to do with whether the Cavs made the proper selection or if Bennett will live up to his draft status. Many positives exist, namely his powerful frame and scoring prowess from all angles. 

Many reports of his asthma condition existed before Thursday as well.