Heading into this year's draft, ESPN's Chad Ford rated Ben Bentil No. 29 on his big board and speculated that the Providence forward might go as high as 18th to Detroit. The Celtics likely never expected Bentil to be available when they selected him in the second round, 51st overall.
Via Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, Providence coach Ed Cooley had this to say about Bentil slipping:
Any time you end up getting drafted by the Boston Celtics, it’s worth the wait. . . . (But) I am surprised. I thought he’d go a little earlier than this, but that’ll fuel his fire, and he’s going to go at it.
In 2005, the Celtics also chose a Friars forward late in the second round--Ryan Gomes at No. 50. Gomes (6'7") was two inches shorter than Bentil (6'9"), but the two posted strikingly similar numbers during their final college campaigns:
Ben Bentil's final yr @ Providence: 21.1 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 194 2PM, 52 3PM— Taylor C. Snow (@taylorcsnow) July 19, 2016
Ryan Gomes' final yr @ Providence: 21.6 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 195 2PM, 52 3PM
Gomes went on to play eight seasons in the NBA, including putting up 12.6 points and 5.8 rebounds in 31.2 minutes a night for the C's in 2006-07 (although that was a 24-win squad that played 35 games without Paul Pierce in an attempt to tank for Greg Oden and Kevin Durant). After being shipped to Minnesota in the Kevin Garnett deal, Gomes was a starter for three seasons with the Timberwolves (2007-2010) and one more with the Clippers (2010-11). He finished his career with averages of 10.1 points and 4.6 boards per game.
Following four years at Providence, Gomes was ready for the NBA right away. Bentil, however, left school after his sophomore season. From Bulpett:
Many NBA observers believe strongly he should have stayed with the Friars another year to work on his game and improve his stock.
'I think it was a difficult call because he had such a great year,' said Cooley. 'He had a really good year, and I thought he had an opportunity, but somebody had to like him, you know what I mean? And I’m appreciative of the Celtics giving him an opportunity to show what he can do.
Getting a roster spot there is going to be very difficult, but I think, given the opportunity, he’s tough, he can score and he’s really physical. And hopefully some physicality and some scoring from a frontcourt person is something that Danny (Ainge) and Coach (Brad) Stevens can use.'
At the moment, it appears Bentil's chances of making Boston's roster are slim. He had a disappointing summer league and is one of 17 players under contract for 15 available spots. With only $250,000 of his salary guaranteed, he's an easy cut for the C's to make. Even if he has an impressive training camp, Bentil will likely have to beat out two of the following five players (all of whom have fully-guaranteed deals) in order to stick: Gerald Green, Jordan Mickey, RJ Hunter, James Young and Demetrius Jackson.
Bentil could well catch on with the Celtics (or another team) down the road, but he's clearly not going to have the same opportunity to succeed in Boston that Gomes did.
Follow Mark Van Deusen on Twitter @LucidSportsFan
Mark Van Deusen 8/01/2016 01:23:00 PM Tweet Edit