Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
2013-14 stats: 11 points and 6.1 rebounds on 47 percent shooting
Enes Kanter has been an easy target for Jazz bloggers on Twitter lately. Taxi Squad Show's Clint Peterson has been particularly critical, saying, "Kanter sucking this season is the only common denominator." And "The island on Kanter is shrinking fast."
They have to place the blame for all this losing on someone and Kanter's an easy target for a number of reasons.
First, the team is 1-17 when Kanter starts, compared to 9-8 when he comes off the bench. Second, he has the worst plus/minus rating on the team.
Obviously, those things don't look good, but they're numbers and they don't account for every factor.
Part of the reason Utah's record with Kanter as a starter is so bad is most of those games came when Lucas, Burks and Jamaal Tinsley were starting at point guard.
Kanter has only played 230 minutes with Burke. That's less time with the starting point guard than Burks, Williams, Jefferson, Favors and Hayward have each had.
Furthermore, Kanter's only played a total of 28 minutes when both Burke and Williams (the two players whose returns from injury sparked Utah's improved play) are on the floor.
If he spent more time on the court with Utah's most effective players, Kanter's plus/minus rating would be better. It would also have a positive effect on his confidence, which has looked shaken since he was demoted to a bench role.
As a starter, Kanter shot 49.1 percent from the field and averaged 14.1 points and seven rebounds in 32.5 minutes. As a reserve, those numbers are 43.2, 7.7 and 5.1 in 18.7 minutes.
After all the offseason talk of the team being handed over to the young guys, Kanter started hot and looked very sure of himself early in the season. Struggling with the second unit seems to have robbed him of some of that swagger.
This was always supposed to be a season of rebuilding and discovery. For that reason, coach Corbin needs to play all the young guys together so they can develop chemistry.