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2011 NBA Draft: Enes Kanter Profile

If the Cavaliers end up taking Enes Kanter with the first overall pick, send someone over to my house to make sure I'm still breathing. While I think this is highly unlikely, I guess it is a possibility. It is far more likely that Kanter could be the Cavs' selection with the fourth pick in the draft.

Before I jump into the specifics (or lack thereof) about Enes Kanter, it's probably important to outline the various approaches that the Cavaliers can take on Thursday night. (I label these situations based on what I think are the best options for the Cavs moving forward, the titles are not necessarily infallible truth)

Best Case Scenario: 

  • The Cleveland Cavaliers select Kyrie Irving with the #1 overall pick in the draft.
  • The Cavs then pull off a trade with Minnesota to move up from #4 to the #2 draft pick (without giving up too much) and select Derrick Williams.
Average Case Scenario:
  • The Cleveland Cavaliers select Kyrie Irving with the #1 overall pick in the draft.
  • The Cleveland Cavaliers select either Enes Kanter or Jonas Valanciunas with the #4 overall pick in the draft. 
(This scenario is the reason why you should keep reading to find out more about Enes Kanter)
Worst Case Scenario:
  • The Cleveland Cavaliers select Derrick Williams with the #1 overall pick in the draft.
  • The Cleveland Cavaliers select Brandon Knight or Kemba Walker with the #4 overall pick in the draft. 
Kahn Case Scenario:
  • The Cleveland Cavaliers trade both of their lottery picks for guys that have no interest in playing defense or are named Jonny Flynn
The average case scenario seems to be the most likely at this point. Therefore, it is necessary to know a little bit about the guys that the Cavs would draft with the #4 pick. It appears that the Cavs are highest on Enes Kanter and Jonas Valanciunas, although it is rather difficult to determine which they prefer at this point. Both are international players that have legitimate NBA bodies, but somewhat different strengths and weaknesses. There will be a separate post about Valanciunas (pronounced: asdfhasdlfjads), so I'll focus on Kanter here. 

Enes Kanter measures at 6'11" and weighed in at 260 pounds. He has a 7'2" wingspan, so there is no question about his ability to stand up to most NBA centers. There are impressive Youtube videos of Kanter's workouts (here) that display his offensive game. In such videos, Kanter shows excellent touch and finishing ability around the rim. Despite the lack of defenders on the court, Kanter also possesses good range on his jump shot. From the very limited footage of Kanter, he appears to have the tools to be a legitimate scoring threat at the center position, something that is quite hard to come by in today's NBA.

The questions surrounding Kanter are based on the fact that he has played very little organized basketball in the past year or so. He was recruited to play at the University of Kentucky but was deemed ineligible due to some arbitrary rules from the NCAA. The lack of playing time has created a sort of mysterious fog hovering around Enes and NBA teams are unsure what to make of it. Kanter dominated the likes of Jared Sullinger at the 2010 Nike Hoop Summit, but that was over a year ago. In much of Kanter's film he seems relatively indifferent to playing defense. He is a good enough athlete to become a competent defender in the NBA, but it is something that needs to be taught. Playing alongside Anderson Varejao certainly wouldn't hurt. 

Some of the idealistic comparisons for Enes Kanter are players like Al Horford. I'm sure that I am not the only one who would be ecstatic to draft an Al Horford with the #4 pick to play with Kyrie Irving, but again, this is probably the best case scenario. More realistically, I expect Kanter to be an above average center with a strong offensive game. Kanter would almost certainly come play for the Cavs right away, avoiding a potential Ricky Rubio-like situation. I wouldn't necessarily be upset if Enes Kanter ended up in Cleveland, but he isn't my favorite international prospect. His polished offensive skills are tantalizing, but his lack of experience and defensive effort leave much to be desired. The Cavs can do better by selecting Jonas Valanciunas. Stay tuned for the next post to find out why!