It’s both bizarre and oddly thrilling how little is known about Enes Kanter. Usually, two months into his tenure as a drafted NBA player, we’ve learned as much as we can possibly think of about these guys. We’re more curious about fresh hoops meat than anyone we know in actual reality. I can’t remember the exact birthday of the best man in my wedding, but I can tell you that two years ago tomorrow is the anniversary of the U-18 European Championship game between Turkey and Lithuania, or more pointedly Kanter and fellow first-round draftee Jonas Valanciunas. I shouldn’t know this. I have no real application for this knowledge (keep reading if you don’t believe me), but every June 3, my best man gets real upset with me for some reason. My point isn’t about the tidbits we know about Kanter, the point is that tidbits are all we know about him – and that’s the tidbit that is most intriguing. He’s played fewer than 100 minutes of basketball in two of his last three seasons and none of it was on a large stage. So, yeah, this was a weak draft, but he was still the third pick in it. Let’s preview what we can about Kanter for 2011 fantasy basketball.
The word on the street (or the half-dozen words if it is translated to Turkish) is that Enes Kanter is a super-young, super-solid big who will be productive in this league as long as he is healthy … and there is reason to believe he won’t remain healthy. He’s 6-foot-11, plays physical and has a soft touch. He’s been compared to Al Horford, but most extended video clips show him to be significantly tougher on the glass. So the fact that his knee strength are already being questioned is less exciting than, say, rolling yourself in a quilt and sliding chest first down a carpeted staircase. And on the Jazz, he’s widely believed to at least get a shot at starting center over Mehmet Okur, which would save Al Jefferson from having to play center too. I don’t really see him doing much, outside of learning the NBA game, this season. If they need him to do something other than score, he’s a more physical body than Okur. If Millsap swaps teams, Kirilenko stays away and Okur’s career turns out to be finished, in theory, Kanter can pick up the slack. Call him ‘Kan-er’ – Kanter is stinkin’ thinkin’! Having said all that, he’s slower than a guy with his athletic ability should be, he’s 19 and he’s never played stiff competition. Also, he’ll be in Utah and I’m assuming a teen from Turkey enjoys the occasional discoteque-ing. In short, it’s gonna be a rough adjustment. Ever try to hit a disco in Salt Lake City? I wouldn’t hope for more than 9/7, with 1.5 stl+blk from Kanter next season. The kid from Istanbul is widely believed to be very teachable, hyper-aware, and constantly noble – but we already knew that Istanbul was Constantlynoble, didn’t we?