Enes Kanter, A playoff contender’s savior

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Enes Kanter kisses MSG floor
Adam Hunger

The Knicks officially waived Enes Kanter yesterday in a move that was long overdue. It had been rumored that the Knicks were in trade talks for Kanter for some time. However, after talks with the Kings fell apart, the opportunities to move him also dwindled.

Kanter averaged 14 points and 10.5 rebounds per game in just 25.6 minutes per game with the Knicks. He’s also recorded two 20-20 games this season and provided the team with efficient paint scoring when needed. While it’s clear the Knicks are tanking and preparing for the draft and free agency, it was in their best interest to reduce the big man’s minutes, or just simply not play him.

It’s natural to feel frustrated with the organization while playing productive basketball and shooting 53.6 percent from the field on average. The 26-year-old forward would rather play for a contender who could use his services effectively.

What team wouldn’t want to rent a big man for the remainder of the season who has starter ability but is willing to come off the bench? To make it sweeter, this big man is averaging nearly four offensive rebounds per game and does not need the ball to be effective. He is a disrupter on the glass and can also post up to facilitate the inside out game when necessary.

Enes Kanter posts up Celtics center Aron Barynes
USA Today Sports Images

Remember that snippet of Coach Greg Popovich pleading with his players to “give (him) a little nasty” in the playoffs? Well, Kanter gives some of that as well:

All in all, this would a low risk, high reward for many teams looking to give their playoff rotation a boost. Kanter does pose issues on defending switches onto guards on the perimeter, but what team doesn’t have that issue?

The NBA is a copycat league. We’ve seen the trend to gather a group of five that can switch everything on defense but doesn’t sacrifice much offense, but they all can’t be Golden State. Kanter could neutralize his defensive issues by terrorizing the backboard and extending offensive possessions. Although his attitude doesn’t render him the most popular player in the league, teams are more concerned with winning. As long as he adds value to a teams goals, expect teams such as Portland, Utah, and LA (Lakers) to give him a look. With Detroit sitting 1.5 games out the playoff picture, don’t be surprised if they give him some consideration as well.

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