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Enes Kanter’s third season was a modest step in the right direction. He cut his turnover rate dramatically, and despite early-season shoulder problems, ended his 2014 campaign averaging a solid 12.3 points and 7.5 rebounds in only 26.7 minutes per game.
At 22 years old, he’s still a project, but he hints at becoming one of the league’s more meaningful big men someday.
Kanter has a decent jump shot and resides in a giant’s body. Defensively, he allowed opponents to make more than half their shots at the rim while he defended it, which is something he can clearly improve on. But the gamble is well worth it, especially for someone so young and on a rookie contract
After trading for him, the Celtics would have one season before Kanter became a restricted free agent. If they like what they see (they will, the upside is too high to ignore), he’d instantly transform into Boston’s franchise center and a helpful two-way cog to complement their collection of talented power forwards.
It seems unlikely Utah would be willing to give up on Kanter so soon, but so far he’s yet to have any semblance of success playing beside 22-year-old Derrick Favors, whose four-year, $48 million extension kicks in next season. Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey scoffs at the idea that his two young big men can’t coexist, telling the Deseret News’ Jody Genessy:
Frankly, that’s nonsense [that they can’t play together]. Enes can really shoot the ball. And Derrick can really anchor a defense from a rebounding, shot-blocking standpoint. In combination going forward, they’ll be fine. Will it be them as starters or closing games is really immaterial to me.
But the two only played 771 minutes together last year in a season where finding out if the duo could work should have been a priority. The Celtics will jump at the chance to throw one of their future first-round draft picks in Utah’s direction if the former third overall pick becomes available.