After parting ways with the New York Knicks in early February, the Portland Trail Blazers have signed Enes Kanter through the rest of the season. Kanter signed an $18 million contract with the Knicks last off-season. He looks to help lengthen a rotation for the Trail Blazers after they were swept by the New Orleans Pelicans last year in the playoffs. He won’t be a starter, but the Blazers hope he can be an important part to a championship run.
Looking At Enes Kanter’s Impact on the Portland Trail Blazers
After an early exit to the playoffs last season, the Trail Blazers haven’t done too much to separate this year’s roster from the last. One major problem was the defensive rebounding differential. In four playoff games, the Pelicans grabbed 143 rebounds on the defensive end. On the flip side, the Trail Blazers only grabbed 129. This difference is huge. More specifically when you take into consideration how much they create opportunities for the defending team. Kanter is a fantastic rebounder capable of leading the league in rebounds given the minutes. In his two seasons with the Knicks, Kanter averaged a career high in defensive rebounds. In the 17-18 season, he averaged 7.1 defensive rebounds and averaged 6.6 this year. He will greatly help this team get second chances.
When talking about Kanter, you need to talk about the intangibles, the things not counted on the stat sheet. Kanter was big in helping the Knicks find an identity in the 17-18 season. It all started with the infamous LeBron James game, a game where Frank Ntilikina got tangled up with LeBron and Kanter came to his defense. Getting in Lebron’s face is something few players will do. Maybe he’s crazy, or maybe he has a lot of moxie. Regardless, Kanter’s impact on the team was felt immediately and he quickly became a fan favorite.
One of the most memorable parts of Kanters’ Knicks tenure was playing despite being injured. He would continuously give his all to that team. Despite all his flaws on the court, he came to play hard every game. Even when the Knicks were playing meaningless games at the end of the season, he continued to fight his way back on the court. He wanted to consistently be on the court for the fans and the represent the city.
Unless some major problems happen to the Trail Blazers, they are most likely making the playoffs again this year. Kanter’s offense will be important in the team’s rotation. Last season he shot a career-high 59 percent from the field. He owns a lifetime 54 percent shooting from the field. He’s also been able to improve his free throw shooting percentage greatly. He went from 67 percent his first year to 85 percent last year.
Despite his major flaws on the defensive end, Kanter can be a useful piece if used right in a rotation. He gets knocked for his defense which is fair, but there’s a lot of positives to take away from his play style. He plays hard every possession and gives one hundred percent every time he steps on the court. Kanter’s ability to average a double-double makes him dangerous on the offensive end of the floor and a useful piece to any roster.