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Kanter VS. 2011 Draft Class Rivals


Hello again SLCDunkers and welcome back to the post-tradeline period where many of us will be salivating/fuming at our draft positioning for the rest of the season. My hope is that we will get to see our youngsters' development take first priority for the last 30 games. Anyways, let's start the analysis of how Enes Kanter has performed versus other big men from the 2011 NBA Draft to help gauge whether or not he was a good draft choice as well as how he has been developed so far.

This is my 4th post of my youth development series. You can find the overview of our youth's situations thus far here, Gordan Hayward VS. his rivals here, and Favors VS. his rivals here. Today's post will be focused around our very own Turkish Bull-in-a-China-Shop, ENES KANTER!

Background:

Enes Kanter was our highly anticipated 3rd overall pick in the 2011 draft. We received the pick from the Nets who finished the previous tied for the 5th worst record but we got some luck in the lottery from their pick and picked up a top 3 pick. Enes attended Kentucky for 1 season but was ruled ineligible to play for them by the crooked NCAA since he played some (minor) professional games in Turkey beforehand since apparently only the NCAA is allowed to make money in their system, not the players that their product revolves around.

Anyways, because of this Kanter was one of the biggest question marks heading into the draft since he had relatively little experience (except compared to Biyombo maybe). I'll be honest, going into this draft, I was really hoping that Derrick Williams would slide to us, and if he didn't I was rooting for us to draft Brandon Knight instead. Boy am I glad that I wasn't in charge of the front office that night. Kanter looks much more promising than both of those options. Without further adieu, let's compare how Kanter has performed compared to other bigs in this draft: Tristan Thompson, Jonas Valanciunas, Jan Vesely, Bismack Biyombo, the Morris twins, Nikola Vucevic, and Kenneth Faried. These are all lottery picks except for Vucevic (16th pick) and Faried (22nd pick)

2012 Frontcourt Rookies

Pos

G

GS

MP

FGA

FG%

3P%

2P%

FT%

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

PER

USG%

ORtg

DRtg

WS/48

E Kanter

66

0

13.2

3.6

0.496

0.000

0.498

0.667

4.2

0.1

0.3

0.3

0.8

1.3

4.6

14.5

17.3

105

105

0.095

T Thompson

60

25

23.7

7.4

0.439

0.000

0.441

0.552

6.5

0.5

0.5

1.0

1.4

2.2

8.2

13.3

19.2

98

108

0.038

J Vesely

57

20

18.9

3.8

0.537

0.000

0.539

0.532

4.4

0.8

0.7

0.6

1.1

2.7

4.7

11.5

12.7

104

105

0.076

B Biyombo

63

41

23.1

4.4

0.464

0.000

0.464

0.483

5.8

0.4

0.3

1.8

1.1

2.3

5.2

10.6

13.1

92

107

0.019

Markieff M

63

7

19.5

6.9

0.399

0.347

0.420

0.717

4.4

1.0

0.7

0.7

1.1

2.8

7.4

12.1

20.4

97

104

0.059

Marcus M

17

0

7.4

3.2

0.296

0.118

0.378

0.750

0.9

0.2

0.1

0.1

0.2

0.7

2.4

3.8

22.2

78

109

-0.083

N Vucevic

51

15

15.9

5.7

0.450

0.375

0.452

0.529

4.8

0.6

0.4

0.7

0.6

2.2

5.5

14.3

19.6

99

97

0.109

K Faried

46

39

22.5

6.7

0.586

0.000

0.586

0.665

7.7

0.8

0.7

1.0

1.2

2.5

10.2

21.9

18.7

123

103

0.212

These players' rookie years were during the lockout season, so this limits them to 66 maximum games. Some very interesting things seen in these stats that I didn't realize at the time.

(Note: If anybody out there remembers or noticed in the above table, Valanciunas did not come over to the NBA until the 2012-2013 season, but I will still be referring to him incorrectly as a sophomore in the 2013 season when he will be in fact an NBA 'rookie'.)

Kanter did not play very much (due to Big Al, Millsap, Favors) but in his time out there he did very well. I would say the only big man who outperformed him from the draft class would be the sleeper pick Kenneth Faried. Faried really did have a great rookie season. In contrast, Marcus Morris had one of the most atrocious rookie season I've ever seen. Keep a track on these two to see how they've changed. Outside of Faried, none of these guys were reliable offensive options.

Besides the Manimal, Biyombo was the only other player to start a majority of his games. His defense certainly didn't seem like that it made that much of an impact in his first season, so I must assume that he started so much in virtue of being on a bobcats franchise that has not had many solid big men in their history. Vucevic also has modest stats and is quite a good pickup for being outside the lottery. Let's move on, shall we...

2013 Frontcourt Sophomores

Pos

G

GS

MP

FGA

FG%

3P%

2P%

FT%

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

PER

USG%

ORtg

DRtg

WS/48

E Kanter

70

2

15.4

5.4

0.544

1.000

0.542

0.795

4.3

0.4

0.4

0.5

1.4

1.7

7.2

17.6

22.4

106

107

0.101

T Thompson

82

82

31.3

9.7

0.488

0.000

0.490

0.608

9.4

1.3

0.7

0.9

1.5

2.9

11.7

16.1

18.3

108

108

0.098

J Valanciunas

62

57

23.9

5.9

0.557

0.000

0.557

0.789

6.0

0.7

0.3

1.3

1.5

3.0

8.9

15.6

16.9

113

106

0.127

J Vesely

51

4

11.8

2.2

0.500

0.000

0.504

0.308

2.4

0.5

0.3

0.3

0.5

2.1

2.5

7.6

12.0

95

103

0.059

B Biyombo

80

65

27.3

4.3

0.451

0.000

0.451

0.521

7.3

0.4

0.4

1.8

1.0

2.4

4.8

10.1

10.2

98

109

0.031

Markieff M

82

32

22.4

8.0

0.407

0.336

0.426

0.732

4.8

1.3

0.9

0.8

1.3

2.5

8.2

12.6

19.7

96

106

0.044

Marcus M

77

23

19.8

6.8

0.422

0.369

0.464

0.564

3.6

0.8

0.6

0.3

1.0

2.1

7.7

11.3

18.9

101

108

0.058

N Vucevic

77

77

33.2

11.5

0.519

0.000

0.520

0.683

11.9

1.9

0.8

1.0

1.8

2.8

13.1

17.8

19.3

106

105

0.106

K Faried

80

80

28.1

8.6

0.552

0.000

0.552

0.613

9.2

1.0

1.0

1.0

1.4

2.9

11.5

18.5

17.7

116

102

0.167

Alright! A nice first full season for these guys and more than half are starting for their teams. I said to keep an eye on Faried and Marcus Morris. Faried has been steadily declining in performance and Marcus has been steadily improving.

Faried is still the best offensive player out of this bunch (and arguably defensive as well) but the gap is much smaller this season. Tristan Thompson and Nikola Vucevic both make their cases as decent offensive options (both are fairly mediocre at this point).

Kanter is cleary stunted in playing time at this pointed in his interesting situation. Only Jan Vesely had less playing time per game this season. However, by performance, Kanter had the highest usage rate, close to the top in PER, and an above average win share per 48 minutes as well. Kanter's shooting percentages are also very encouraging this season. He is clearly dominating other back up big men when he is out there.

Biyombo and the Morris twins seem to be more defenders at this stage as their offensive numbers are all pretty shoddy this season.

2014 Frontcourt Juniors

Pos

G

GS

MP

FGA

FG%

3P%

2P%

FT%

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

PER

USG%

ORtg

DRtg

WS/48

E Kanter

44

19

25.0

10.0

0.495

0.000

0.495

0.752

6.0

0.8

0.4

0.6

1.8

2.9

11.6

15.2

23.4

101

110

0.046

T Thompson

55

55

32.9

10.0

0.465

0.000

0.466

0.662

9.6

0.9

0.5

0.4

1.5

2.3

12.2

14.5

18.0

107

108

0.089

J Valanciunas

54

54

27.6

8.3

0.503

0.000

0.504

0.737

8.6

0.7

0.3

0.9

1.7

3.1

10.5

14.7

18.5

106

103

0.117

J Vesely

33

1

14.2

2.8

0.522

0.000

0.522

0.267

3.4

0.3

0.8

0.6

0.7

1.9

3.2

11.5

12.2

100

101

0.086

B Biyombo

50

9

15.5

2.0

0.647

0.000

0.647

0.553

5.2

0.1

0.1

1.2

0.6

1.7

3.5

13.6

9.8

117

99

0.147

Markieff M

52

0

25.4

10.0

0.463

0.303

0.487

0.792

5.8

1.6

0.8

0.6

1.7

2.8

12.6

17.6

23.0

109

105

0.131

Marcus M

53

0

21.9

8.1

0.438

0.374

0.482

0.791

4.1

1.0

0.9

0.2

1.2

2.0

9.9

15.5

20.2

110

105

0.123

N Vucevic

38

38

31.8

11.5

0.503

0.000

0.503

0.804

10.7

1.7

1.1

0.9

2.1

2.8

13.6

18.3

21.1

105

103

0.113

K Faried

51

48

25.2

8.4

0.548

0.000

0.552

0.607

7.5

1.0

0.8

0.9

1.3

2.3

11.0

18.7

18.7

113

105

0.142

And now we look at this current season. Like I said earlier Faried has been steadily declining in performance while Marcus Morris has been improving. I think Faried may end up suffering from the Tyreke Evans effect of outperforming expectations early and then end up doing nothing special.

Let's do some more comparisons. Kanter and Valanciunas seem to be linked as foreign prospect rivals. This year they seem fairly even in performance to be honest. Advanced stats seem to favor Jonas, but remember that a third of Kanter's games thus far (where he got more playing time than now) were played with John Lucas III as the starting point guard. I'll be curious to see how the post-JL3 days Kanter compares to the rest of these guys.

I say that this season Nikola Vucevic appears to be the best offensive big man of this bunch, with Faried, Thompson, Markieff, Kanter, and Valanciunas all right behind him on the same talent level. On defense, Biyombo appears to have the best numbers (I sure hope so, because he is nonexistent on offense with a

Kanter has steadily shown that he is a reliable offensive option and continues to dominate back up big men, and starting big men slightly more inconsistently as he has not gotten used to that role yet. Still, his 25 MPG is a bit disappointing to me this season since the log jam has been lifted.

Overview:

I must admit it is a bit hard to rank these guys as many of them seem to be at the average talent level in the NBA. And just like the big men in Favors' draft class, none of these guys appear to be franchise players yet, maybe one will make a jump, but none of them are early bloomers. I will still do my best to rank them, but like I said, few of these people stand out from each other, as they have different strengths without being outstanding overall.

Quality Starters

1. Kenneth Faried

2. Nikola Vucevic

3a.-3c. Enes Kanter, Tristan Thompson, Jonas Valanciunas

Rotation Players

6. Markieff Morris

7. Marcus Morris

8. Bismack Biyombo

Fringe NBA Players

9. Jan Vesely

I apologize I had to cop out, I just couldn't rank those 3 guys overall over each other. If Kanter didn't regress on defense this season he would have been my clear choice at number 3. But that is not the case so I could not rank him over them without a guilty conscience. Jonas advanced stats as well as his team's performance this year shows him as being slightly better, so I guess that's my tiebreaker answer. But I think those 3 players are so similar right now, that ranking one above the other overall would be rather fruitless as their potential all seem so similar to me. Let me know if you agree/disagree in the comments.

I think the Jazz did an okay job of drafting Kanter at the 3rd spot. This was a draft that had no star besides Irving, but had many starters throughout with many draft sleepers, so I think the only other better option we could have done is trade down in this draft to try for two starting caliber players, but since we already had another pick that got us Burks in this draft, I guess trading for another pick would be a bit superfluous.

Enes Kanter has had quite the path to where he is today. In some twist of irony, his early involvement in professional basketball has led him to having the least amount of professional experience out of the other NBA big men in his draft class. If the NCAA let him play at Kentucky, scouts would have had a better grasp on his talents, and this would probably would have led him to either be drafted higher or lower accordingly and not end up in this log jam for his first two seasons. The element that is unique to Kanter's situation, that Favors did not have to deal with, is that Marvin Williams starts over him. Kanter seems to have the potential to be a 2nd option on offense but he needs to polish up on his defense first as well as make less of those head-scratching moves that are clearly a result of not having enough experience at this level. The fact that Kanter has gone from 13.2 to 15.4 to 25.0 MPG in his first three seasons here show another case of the Jazz developing another big man slowly but surely (Favors/Millsap).

I hope the Jazz will keep Kanter as I do with all of our F5+Gobert. I'm not an expert at gauging his market value, but if the Jazz could sign him to a 4-year, $28-40 Million Extension I think that would be fair. Let me know your contract predictions.

How do you think the Jazz have done in developing Enes Kanter as well as drafting him?

Thanks for reading again Dunkers, Next week's post will feature Alec Burks VS. his rivals.

All comments are the opinion of the commenter and not necessarily that of SLC Dunk or SB Nation.

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