Jazz Win (as usual) with Enes Kanter

August 25th, 2011 | by Nick Smith

Amidst the current labor stoppage, I have been doing my fair share of thinking/appreciating how nice it’s been to be a Jazz fan. Sure, we’ve never won an NBA championship, but ask yourself this; how many NBA franchises would have been better to cheer for over the last 20 years than the Jazz? Chicago, LA Lakers, San Antonio and probably Dallas for sure. Then you have other teams that have won a championship or two but endured miserable years before or since those championships, such as Boston, Houston, Miami, and Detroit. Value those as you may, but as a fan, a few great seasons every 20 years surrounded by disaster would not keep me as interested as a team that is in playoff contention every single year. Having said that, this last season shows exactly why the Jazz have been competitive for all these years. They are a forward thinking organization with a commitment to their community to stay competitive.

As time goes on, I find it exciting to start adding names to the Deron Williams trade. As it stands, the Jazz traded Williams for Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, and Enes Kanter, with another young stud hopefully just around the corner. Outside of Devin Harris, there remains to be a lot of question marks around the other three pieces. The future draft pick is still a total unknown, your guess on Derrick Favors’ success in the NBA is as good as mine (although for the record, I’m a huge fan), and Enes Kanter hasn’t even played competitively in years, until recently. With the Eurobasket just around the corner, Turkey has played four exhibition games, giving Kanter some burn in each of those four games.

As to be expected, Enes looked very rusty, and in some ways, like a fish out of water on the court. His reaction times were slow and he seemed to be thinking his way through the game rather than just playing. He didn’t have much of a clue how to rotate defensively, he seemed to panic a bit when he had the ball, and appeared to be a step slow at times. But in his most recent game against Germany, Kanter finally showed us what he looks like when he’s comfortable out there and just plays. He was extremely aggressive, a fantastic rebounder, and runs the floor beautifully. You can forget all Mehmet Okur comparisons you may have ever heard and should maybe start thinking more along the lines of a 6’11, more likable version of…Carlos Boozer. The most impressive thing I saw about Kanter, something that I think draws the Boozer comparison, is his ability/desire/motivation (whatever it is) that makes him leave his area to grab rebounds. Jefferson, Okur, and Millsap are all decent rebounders, but none of them would leave their area to go chasing after a rebound like Enes seems to do. So why is this such great news? Well, unless your name is Reggie Evans or Dennis Rodman, a 10 rebound a night guy usually means at least 10 points a night as well, and with the skill set Kanter seems to have, there’s no reason to think he couldn’t make that 15-20 points a night.

You don’t need to remind me that it was just one game, but just for fun, here are some stats from that Turkey vs. Germany matchup to show Enes’ performance relative to a few other guys you may have heard of before.

These stats are adjusted per 40 minutes.

Points/40 mins Rebs/40 mins
Dirk Nowitzki



Omer Asik



Ersan Ilyasova



Hedo Turkoglu



Enes Kanter




Trading a player as good as Deron Williams hurts but is at the same time the kind of move that exactly illustrates why I could count on one hand how many teams’ fans cheer for a more successful organization than I do. Who knows how good Enes Kanter will ever be, but a strong, physical, excellent rebounding 6’11 center that can shoot the ball out to 20 feet sounds ok to me. Now if only we had a young, freakishly athletic, 6’10 PF to complement the bullying Kanter, I’d be welcome to the idea of the next 20 years being similar to the last 20…

Nick Smith

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  1. Jonny Rocket says:

    Ever Since the Draft I’ve been a big fan of Kanter, With his athleticism and quickness I can see the jazz benefiting from time to time with the big line up. Kanter at the 3, Jefferson at the 4 and Favors at the 5… Seems like he has the handles to be able to be a Turkoglu or a lamar odom. the Huge SF that creates miss matches. VERY excited for Kanter.

  2. BillM says:

    Jonny, I would go AJ at 5, Kanter at 4 & Favors at 3 if I wanted to go huge. Favors is much more similar to Odom physically than the other two, and far more quick, athletic & long than Al or Enes.

    Al is pretty much a 5 at this point. He’s fine on the offensive end as a 5, he just simply must have a big athletic 4 alongside him on defense. Corbin also needs to junk Sloan’s defense (and offense) as none of our young (or old) players are a good fit for it, but that’s another post.

    I am excited about Kanter & Favors playing together; same with Hayward & Burks. Don’t worry about traditional positions; neither Dallas or Miami does; change the playbook to fit the players we have. If we can pick up another good player with the GS pick, we might really have something in 3-4 years.

    I hope the Jazz let ’em grow and figure out how to play together, rather than ride the vets into a low seed/quick exit playoff berth. It takes time, look at OKC.

  3. utahjazz says:

    I fully disagree with your rebounding ways typical un-athletic utah wanna be know it all go watch the cougars play with your sense of pride and accomplishment from nothing.

    MILSAP IS A BEAST ON THE BOARDS LOOK AT HIS STATS! he gets massive rebounding games then most of the league. I do respect kanters ability but i dont respect your take on this. Plus GORDON HAYWARD IS THE SF OF THE NEW AGE! big fast strong and can shoot… he is like a bigger hornacek.

    • Michael says:

      Millsap is a beast on the boards and is a great player but he is listed at 6’8, and jefferson needs a much bigger physical presence with him in the paint… besides it would make sense to trade milsap eventually maybe now or in the next couple of seasons

  4. u2despain says:

    Great article. I am very excited for the future of the Jazz. Kanter will play a big part of that success. I have been very impressed with his rebounding skills in the games he has played in. I appreciate you mentioning he looked rusty because he did and he has a long way to go, but all the pieces are there and just need to be developed. Please end the lockout!

  5. Like to see how they manage to fit in those five guys in the rotation. they could try to trade one of them for a decent shooter–something they definately need.

  6. Jon L. says:

    Solid article. The Jazz have been one of the most consistent franchises over the past 20 years. I hope they don’t miss Jerry Sloan too much.

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