The Indiana Pacers hosted six more draft prospects Monday, and Providence forward Ben Bentil was the most interesting player of the group.
Bentil is a 6’8” power forward with a 7’1.5” wingspan. Most analysts think he has the body type of a “stretch power forward” in the NBA. However, he is much more athletic than an average “stretch power forward.”
Bentil was viewed by most analysts as a late first round pick. However, he has received more interest from teams in the middle of the draft order after a strong showing at the NBA combine.
Pacers’ President Larry Bird and head coach Nate McMillan notice Bentil’s solid draft combine performance, and they invited him to their pre-draft workout Monday as a result. The Pacers are probably thinking about using the 20th overall pick on him.
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As a freshman, Bentil averaged 6.4 points and 4.9 rebounds over 21.5 minutes per game for the Friars. His game drastically improved in his sophomore season. He averaged 21.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. His 14.7 increase in points and 2.6 increase in rebounds made Bentil one of the most improved players in college basketball.
The 21-year-old prospect has a lot of talent, and he thinks he would fit in well with the Pacers.
"“My versatility, my intensity, hard work. This is a team that’s relentless. They just pressure and try to play up-and-down and I think that that fits with my game.”"
Again, scouts and analysts usually like what they see whenever they analyze Bentil’s game. ESPN’s Chad Ford recently analyzed Bentil’s skills and had good things to say about him.
"“He’s long, he’s athletic, and he can really score from anywhere on the floor. He is equally adept at scoring with his back to the basket and coming out to the three-point line and latching the three…”"
The only two issues Ford had with Bentil was his height and his defensive skills. However, these limitations are things the Pacers can either deal with or fix.
With the Pacers, Bentil does not need to be the primary post player on offense. This responsible already falls on Myles Turner. Bentil can pick his spots in the post while doing most of his damage as a shooter, a driver and an offensive rebounder. Meanwhile, Nate McMillan, an excellent defensive coach, can fix Bentil’s defensive vulnerabilities.
If the Pacers want to add more scoring to their frontcourt, Bentil would be a perfect fit for them. A Paul George, Myles Turner and Ben Bentil frontcourt would be very intriguing to see. If all three players were to play together in 2016, their playing styles would complement one another nicely.
It is also important to note that Bentil is committed to turning pro. Even though the deadline to either permanently declare or withdraw from the draft is May 25, Bentil announced he would remain in the draft Sunday.
The Pacers have other position needs, like at point guard. However, Bentil’s talent and upside makes him a very hard prospect to pass on with the 20th pick overall. It will be interesting to hear how often the Pacers contact him over the next month.