For me the front court combination of Derek Favors and Enes Kanter has been the most disappointing part of this season. I looked forward to this season with visions of Derek and Enes dancing in my head. Kanter was going to be the man on offense, last year’s game against the Bobcats was going to happen once a week. Favors was going to a top candidate for the DPOY Award.
With Kanter as the starting center we were one of the worst teams in the NBA. Our offense was terrible. Our floor spacing was terrible. Our ball movement was terrible. In one of David Locke’s broadcasts he said the other team has four guys with a foot in the paint daring the Jazz to shoot.
Out with Kanter and John Lucas III, in with Trey Burke and Marvin Williams and suddenly our offense is clicking, at times one of the very best in the NBA. The spacing is great. The lanes are open. The ball is being passed around. Again from Locke: "You put Trey Burke, Gordon Hayward, Richard Jefferson, Marvin Williams and Derek Favors together and they can’t wait to pass the ball." The game against Sacramento was so much fun because they shared the ball.
The argument goes that when Kanter and Favors were playing together we also didn't have a starting point guard. That in this "season of discovery" we need to let the Kanter/Favors front court experiment play with a competent point guard like Trey Burke. I agree. I also think that Kanter needs to learn to do the things that have made Marvin so successful.
Stretch the floor on offense. Locke has said it and I agree. I think that Kanter needs to learn to be a stretch four. His mid range shooting percentage and foul shot percentage show that he can shoot the three. Even if his shooting percentage is lower than our wings, the benefit for having a stretch four is that it opens the lanes for our wing players to get open looks at the basket. It makes beautiful floor spacing. Kanter needs to get a 3 point shot.
Kanter also needs to learn to guard the stretch four on the other team. If he can do this successfully it will leave Derek Favors at the rim where he can be so effective, like his game wining defense against Kemba Walker.
Finally, I think Kanter needs to be a better passer. I love/hate to watch the Spurs play because they pass the ball so well. I love watching our current starting five play because they pass the ball so well. I love the build up when they make that last pass and there is a player wide open. I think
In our season of discovery I am interested in seeing how the two can play together with a competent point guard but I think that Kanter has to do specific things to make his pairing with Favors successful. I look forward to seeing that happen.