Last season, Enes Kanter became a fan favorite for the Utah Jazz. Not only did fans enjoy his goofy personality, but they also enjoyed his huge transformation from his rookie season to his sophomore season. Kanter put on muscle and learned quite a few new post moves.
This season, with Al Jefferson gone from the team, Kanter seems to be ready to take on his new role. Fans also think that Kanter can be very successful in a starting role and it looks like not only Jazz fans are taking notice.
Bradford Doolittle of ESPN recently released his list of top five players to break out next season. At No. 5 … Enes Kanter.
You can make an argument for Kanter or teammate Derrick Favors to be listed here, as both are expected to move into full-blown starting roles. For Favors, it’s a matter of proving he can cut his off-the-bench foul rate without losing any of the aggressiveness that makes him an elite offensive rebounder. Kanter simply needs to do what he’s been doing as a reserve. Last season, he averaged 16.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per 36 minutes, while shooting 54.4 percent from the field — all at the age of 20. Look out.
- Bradford Doolittle, ESPN
Kanter is currently working out in Santa Barbara, Calif., with his teammates, trying to rehab his injured shoulder. Kanter dislocated it March 27 against the Phoenix Suns.
Before the injury, Kanter was playing well. In the month of March, he was averaging 12.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, including a game of 23 points and 22 rebounds.
The impressive thing about Kanter is that he was able to do so much last season in such little playing time. Jefferson played the majority of every game, which resulted in Kanter only being able to see the floor 15 minutes a night. The minutes should increase this season. When he did see starter minutes, (30-plus minutes), Kanter has contributed a double-double every time.
Losing Kanter towards the end of the season hurt the Jazz. If losing one guy last year to injury was bad, this season it would be devastating. The Jazz are going young and are relying on the young guys like Kanter and Favors to stay healthy all season.
Doolittle could be exactly right. Kanter is in a position where he can see every statistical number increase dramatically this season. If he can break out this season, Jazz fans will have a really easy time forgetting about Al Jefferson leaving.