We have had three games now to see Enes Kanter play which is about three times more than what we had. Three games does not make a career of course, especially in Eurobasket friendlies, but we have finally been able to see a bit of Kanter playing in a real live basketball game.
Normally how a rookie would play in an overseas tournament wouldn't bee that big of a deal. However, Kanter ended up being a large part of the return the Jazz received for All-star Deron Williams. So he's going to have his play scrutinized that much more.
We tend to overlook faults in these situations, saying that there's lots of time left for him to develop while at the same time blowing the good things out of proportion. We need to look at it both ways. The common denominator here is time. He has plenty of it at the ripe age of 19. He'll have time to improve all facets of his game. He's also probably going to keep some bad habits.
With that said, Sebastian Pruiti has an excellent look at Kanter's play so far as the Turk plays in some warm-up games to Eurobasket 2011. Pruiti is amongst the best there is when it comes to breaking down plays and a players. So while I have no cause to question anything that he's written, remember that Kanter's professional career is just getting started. These games aren't necessarily an indicator of what he'll be like in 2-3 years. We all just hope he becomes the player fitting of the #3 pick.
You'll want to click through to Pruiti's post for all of the video and insight. This part stood out to me though,
The first thing you like to see is Kanter's physicality. When someone is fighting for position against him, Kanter is physical, does a good job of leaning on his defender and pushing his man from his spot. I also like Kanter's recognition. Once his man makes the catch, he gets his hands off and stops pushing, understanding that would get called for a foul. He also likes to make use of his quick hands and long arms, as he tries to reach in and knock the ball away (not sure if this will be effective in the NBA). Finally, Kanter doesn't really bite on fakes, instead opting to stay on his feet and keeping his arms long, contesting shots without fouling.However, as good as Kanter is on the ball in the post, he's that bad away from the ball in help situations and when trying to defend on the pick and roll. Kanter has a tendency to get lost on the defensive end, and in my opinion, this is where his lack of live game experience really hurts him. He is late recognizing when he should help and when he should stay home, and he tends to have the same problem when hedging on ball screens (he'll hedge a little too hard when not needed).
Help defense is one of the main areas that the Jazz failed in last season. Most of the guys played well one-on-one but struggled to rotate and help out. Pruiti mentions earlier that he wasn't screening well either; that could be because he hasn't played with the Turkish team much and hasn't established a feel for them yet. The same might be said about his help D as well.
Hopefully Turkey goes far in the tournament and we get more games in which to evaluate Kanter.