Enes Kanter talks Al Jefferson, Alex Jensen, and where his game has improved
Note: I’m splitting this interview into two posts for, you know, off-season reasons. Part 2 coming tomorrow.
What’s it been like to not have Al Jefferson this year?
You know, I missed him a lot this season. You know, I mean, it’s just personality, and it’s just friendship and everything. I really missed him a lot this season, but you know, we have other guys now. Like, we have [Andris] Biedrins. We have coach Alex [Jensen]. And I think they did really help me.
Is your NBA life a lonely existence?
Not really. You know, making friends, I think, to me is really easy. You know, just have to be, you know, be friendly with them. And you know, and be a, just be a good locker room guy, and that’s what I’m trying to do now, you know? I like my teammates, a lot.
We were going to do dinner but you kept blowing me off. This is an inside joke. What’s your relationship with Alex Jensen like?
Coach Alex, I mean, he’s been, you know, unbelievable this year, you know? I mean, he came first day, and he starts talking Turkish to me. And he was, you know, pretty good, you know? And I axed him, like, he played, like, six years in Turkey. So, he, and you know, he’s, he probably knows Turkey more than I do.
So I mean, he just, basketball-wise, he’s just, he’s an unbelievable guy. You know, he’s a really, really good coach and you know, really smart guy. High basketball IQ. And you know, he’s been helping me a lot this year…with my mind, you know?
‘Cause he said, like, you know, your prob–sometimes your problem, my problem is up there. So, he’s just, and well, you know, we working on my game and stuff, but you know, a lot of times we sit and talk a lot.
You’ve played on very few teams. National teams aren’t really teams in some ways. Other players have played on high school teams and junior teams and college teams. This is really your first team. Are you behind?
I think my first two years, I felt that, you know, I was kinda rusty, and, ’cause, then I didn’t play much time, much playing time either, ’cause I was, you know, rusty.
And this year, I’m getting more minutes now. I’m getting, you know, like, more used to this NBA game and American game. But you know, I don’t know if I can say I’m still behind or not. I can’t, I mean, I don’t really know that. But you know, I, definitely my first year, I felt that.
Do you feel as though you have trouble understanding offensive and defensive strategies that no on else has trouble understanding?
I still don’t know the some terms, you know? Some, like, some basketball terms when they say, you know, ’cause I probably didn’t, you know, really get to actually play in college game, or high school…
So I’m still, you know, sometimes trying to get, try to understand the game. And you know, sometimes asking the coach questions and stuff. But it’s getting better though.
What’s been your biggest improvement this year?
Probably my face-up shot. You know, I have more confident now. You know, and I probably say my face-up shot [from] 16, 17 feet.
You still do things that turn Coach Corbin’s hair gray. What’s it like when you get that reaction from him?
Of course, I mean no players wants to get yelled at. And I, I mean, I understand his frustration sometimes, and I do some, you know, s–crazy stuff. But you know, he just gets on me because he, like, he wants me to do better. He expect more, a lot from me.
Is it hard for you to remember what you’re supposed to be doing in games?
Sometimes it is, you know? Sometimes I don’t hear the calls…I don’t hear the sets, whatever. And, but I think, you know, the point guards are doing a better job. (Locked on Jazz)