11 December 2011
Introducing Max Specht, resident of London, Ontario, student, blogger, and one of the biggest Utah Jazz fans north of the border. His keen eye for all things basketball combined with a tendency to make outlandish statements make him fun to read. Also take the time to follow him on Twitter (@maxamilli) for critiques on everything Jazz (except for the music).
Enes Kanter is going to finally be able to play basketball. I know we have heard a lot about how he wasn’t able to play in college and then the lockout occurred, but the most important thing right now is that he is going to get minutes. After watching each of his games in the EuroBasket over the summer, we were offered a few glimpses of what Kanter had to offer on the basketball court. Here are some of the most noticeable things I gleaned from watching these games.
• Enes is not going to shy away from contact, if anything he relishes the opportunity. Making room for yourself sounds fairly easy for a big 6’11’’ 250+ body like his, but often times we see players with the same body type shying away from contact and playing it easy. Kanter is not afraid to bang with the best of the them in the post, whether it be with Nowitzki and Kaman or the Gasol brothers in EuroBasket. His ability to clear room for himself was astounding at times and really emphasizes that even though he hasn’t played professionally in a long time, his body is still meant for the NBA.
• He has a decent amount of post moves at his disposal. What is most interesting to note that on the offensive end, Kanter has a great awareness of where his opponent is (See: the video as he dunks around Marc Gasol). A lot of times players will just go up with the ball, or fake it assuming that their man fell for it only to have the ball stripped/blocked. What can be said about Kanter is that he is very keen with his positioning in the paint, using both hands, hook shots, jumpers, etc. He won’t be a primary offensive threat right away, but he could establish himself as something very special as time goes on and his career and awareness progresses.
[Editor's note: In the spirit of full disclosure, it must be noted that that was Kanter's only points of the game against Spain. As was the case throughout EuroBasket there was a distinct disparity in Enes' numbers between NBA caliber talent and non-NBA'ers (more to come on this in the near future at TUJB with a statistical breakdown). Kanter does show flashes of brilliance with the ball on the low block, but the current tendency is to most often do what worked when he was a man among boys; drop the shoulder and try to bull his way to the basket. That strategy won't get you much PT in the NBA, so he needs to continue to expand his offensive repertoire.]
• His defense definitely needs work. With Al Jefferson last year we cringed every time he was forced into defending the pick and roll, and Kanter seems to display shades of the same inefficiencies. His ability to help defend is unfortunate at best, but with the play of Favors at his side the hope is that he will help hide Kanter’s defensive inabilities. We can also note the fact that he has not played a team game for a long time but for a few short-lived occurrences, and these are growing pains that could be ironed out over time.
EuroBasket is chock full of the most talented players in Europe, but it is not yet the talent pool that the NBA possesses. Kanter is an extremely rare, if raw talent, but he will be going up against other quality bigs night in and night out. It appears that he displays all the tools that will not only make him effective, but could lead to him starting one day in the NBA -- sooner than later? We will have to just wait and see.
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