The Boston Celtics used the 51st overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft on Providence College’s Ben Bentil, and many, inside and outside of New England, had no idea who he really was.
Bentil, the former Friar, was arguably the best player with head coach Ed Cooley — over the prolific point guard Kris Dunn. The 6-foot-8, 230-pound power forward scored 18.8 points per game (1st in the Big East) and grabbed 7.7 rebounds per game (4th in the conference) in his final year with Providence.
Now there’s always that notion of “yeah, but that’s college.” But the reason why there should be optimism is due to the shooting ability around the perimeter and inside 12-14 feet from the rim, which he could bring to Brad Stevens and this current team.
Stevens’ system thrives with a face-pace, pass-heavy and three-point shooting offense. Essentially, this offense is built to find a high-quality shot.
Bentil knows how to cash in when his number is called after posting 46-percent from the field, and was a liable free-throw shooter at 78-percent in 2015-16. The Celtics took the most shots in the NBA last season, but was at the bottom of the totem pole when it came to average, so he can provide some assistance in that category.
Another aspect Celtics fans should have high hopes with the Ghana native is due to his playing days alongside one of, if not the best point guards in the nation last season. He was in the right spots for Dunn more than often and got a feel for where to attack and seek his destination.
His versatility has a Draymond Green-esque to his game (7:30-8:15), as our good friend CSNNE’s Celtics Insider A. Sherrod Blakely stated on a recent guest appearance of The Sports Blast.
And subsequently, he’s absolutely right.
Like Green, Bentil has a dynamic you don’t see often. He dialed up the pick-and-roll game plan with Dunn fairly well and led the charge when his team on the decline. Throughout many games, Bentil was the producer inside the post and around the perimeter while Dunn became the killer instinct down the stretch and took the role of being a facilitator.
Don’t get it twisted. It’s going to take time, but his ceiling is the former Michigan State Spartan.
Boston’s version of “Big Ben” will take into effect because his eagerness and relentless drive to rebound the basketball, his strong dribbling skills inside the perimeter and the knack to be a playmaker. He is what basketball analysts call a “tweener,” and many don’t survive in the NBA, but this player can bring that flexibility and be a body that can compete at multiple positions, which Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and Stevens covets.
The 22-year-old most certainly has a ton to learn and acknowledge at the NBA level, but don’t be startled if he gets a decent amount of playing time as Jared Sullinger moves on to the Toronto Raptors and Kelly Olynyk still recovering from his shoulder and ankle ailments.