Enes Kanter and the Sportoto World Cup
Enes Kanter and the tasseled basket in Izmir, Turkey
(I haven’t been purposefully only recapping Russia’s games. I’ve just had no luck finding Ukraine’s games.)
Wasn’t able to catch the first of Turkey’s three games in the Sportoto World Cup (explanation below), but here are some highlights from that game (via SLC Dunk).
(This is a Kanter highlight video, so obviously 1) you only see the good bits; 2) you only see him doing things to Fes instead of it being more of a back-and-forth.)
Kanter started at the 5 in Turkey’s second game (and won the tip), and played the final 1.5 quarters of Turkey’s third game. In a nutshell, he had his good moments and his bad moments, and I don’t think it’s, like, so totally homer-y of me to say to myself, he’s 19 years old and is playing with the national team for the first time, so I’m not going to declare him a bust and pine after Jonas Valanciunas while calling for Kevin O’Connor’s head.
The areas where he needs work, he needs a lot of work. The areas where he shines, he shines. Boxing out comes instinctively to him; he knows instinctively where his man is, and he spins and moves quickly. He is not bad at man-on-man defense, and he’s a pretty physical player with a decent back-to-the-basket game.
Is he a perfectly polished basketball machine? No. Does he often get caught in no man’s land and not know where he’s supposed to be, or take too long to decide what to do with the ball? Yes. Could his PnR defense use work? Definitely.
Until he proves me wrong, though, I’m going to believe that he will improve over time due to his work ethic and attitude. Another huge difference-maker: Confidence. From the two games I saw, I’d say this is Kanter’s main deal. When he gets to that point where he’s familliar with the system and it’s automatic where he should be and what he should be doing so that he can just play and doesn’t have to think about it, he’ll likely be fine. In the meantime, we don’t need to be masters of panic.
One other intangible that I don’t think can be underestimated: Having Memo there to bring him along for at least a year. (Lord knows I have little to no faith in the Jazz’s ability to develop big men. I have more confidence in Memo’s presence than the Jazz’s big-man coaching. Sad but true.)
Enes block from Game 2
One area I’d like to see Kanter work on is powering up. Our (the Jazz’s) bigs for whatever reason are largely dunkphobic* and prefer instead to go with layups, hook shots, push-hooks, double-clutch-throw-it-ups-with-a-prayer, etc. Remember Boozer and his fadeaways? Big Al has said he doesn’t like to dunk. The way the Jazz use Millsap, he’s playing farther and farther from the rim. AK and his flail. Kanter so far belongs on this list. Don’t push it up. Throw it down.
*Not Derrick Favors.
Kanter didn’t start the third game well, but heated up as the game went along. He picked off a couple of cross-court passes, blocked a shot, got a board. He was on the court from 5:44 in the third to the final buzzer, which was probably due to a combination of 1) the coach rewarding him/getting him playing time; 2) it was a blowout (Serbia took and made a 3 with 30 seconds left to make it 82-58. On the ensuing possession, Serbia went for a breakaway dunk. That player ended up getting hit in the head but only a normal foul was called).
Enes did airball one hook shot during the game, but still ended up scoring on the possession: His teammate got the offensive board and missed the putback, and Kanter tipped it in. His nicest play of the game:
Due to my terrible math skills, which render me unable to correctly calculate time differences, I only caught the last two of Turkey’s games. In other words, I missed all three of Ukraine’s games. Never fear, though. Here’s your dose of Fes, who’s starting to look like a lion.
Bonus Feature: Also from the international basketball circuit comes this hilarious exchange between Argentinian teammates Luis Scola and Manu Ginobili, and their Brazilian friend Tiago Splitter (translations courtesy of C):
Manu: Hello Luifa. I’m from Bahia. Can you organize your half of the room? Last night I almost twisted my ankle going to the bathroom when I stepped on one of your sneakers.
Scola: It’s so you can work on your agility. You seem to a bit stiff. Haha.
Tiago: Do you have a super special offer for two tickets?