Last off-season the Utah Jazz had some lotto luck, and got the #3 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. The #3 spot is usually a pretty fantastic player, heck, in 2010 the #3 pick was none other than Derrick Favors. Some other previous #3s were James Harden, O.J. Mayo, Al Horford, Deron Williams, Ben Gordon, Carmelo Anthony, and Pau Gasol. For course, in that period there was also Mike Dunleavy and Adam Morrison -- but more often than not you get someone you can use rather than not. In 2011 the Jazz picked Enes Kanter.
We don't know who Kanter is going to one day be. We had a lot of ideas of who we thought he was, back last off-season. During the regular season (one without a real training camp, or summer league) I think Kanter showed us a number of good things, and a number of bad things. Kanter is an above average rebounder at the NBA level, and he's only 20 years old. He's big, he also made me feel like he could be a solid, below the rim, post defender. He's not going to block a lot of shots (0.9 blocks per 36 mins of play), but he will crash the boards. That's what we have from him that was quite good.
He did not show much polish or confidence with the ball in his hand. I think he took 5 dribbles all season long, never really tried to shoot it outside of the paint - even when he was labeled as a guy who had a face up game. He gets blocked a lot, and shot worse from the FT line than what we expected as well (66%).
Enes is also 4th on the depth chart, and it's not like he's going to get a lot of minutes. And he's not going to gain confidence on the court in real NBA situations by sitting all game long.
All of that said, the one question we did not know the answer to was how hard a worker is he. And from his metamorphosis this off-season I think it's pretty clear that Kanter really is a beast when it comes to working out. He's all about self improvement, and he's not doing this as a hobby. His body was soft last year, and this off-season I'm sure that he has dropped his body fat quite a bit. Dude is ripped. I don't think that he's just working on his body to work on it either, he's working on it to be a better basketball player. Stronger. Faster. Capable of jumping higher. And having greater endurance.
He looks great. Do we know if he plays better? We don't. But I can assume that he's not just working hard on looking better. He's probably also working hard on playing better as well. If he IS better - do you think he's good enough to force the Jazz' hand in terms of keeping him as the #4 dude, or does he move into the #3 spot by seasons' end?