Enes Kanter is a 6'11" Center from Turkey. He has a solid 7'1" wingspan and a 9'1" standing reach. It's fair to assume that at 18 years old, he's probably still growing. Kanter won't wow you with his explosiveness or athleticism, but unlike the other Euro big men in this draft Kanter has a well developed frame and is extremely strong. Also unlike other Euro big men, he is a physical presence down low. He's not the most explosive jumper, but he's got great foot work, and a high skill level. He runs the floor well for a guy his size. He's got great hands, seemingly able to secure any basketball even remotely close to him. What he lacks in pure athleticism and quickness - he more than makes up for in intelligence, skill level and energy.
Although he was ruled ineligible to play college ball this year, I was able to see some of his play in EuroLeague competition when he was 16, and I also watched him dominate in the Under 18 European Championships tournament and absolutely blow up at the Nike Hoops Summit game. The Nike game was played in April 2010 with the top high school seniors (including Harrison Barnes, Jared Sullinger, Kyrie Irving, Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones) playing against a World Select Team made up of top European players 19-years-old or younger. Kanter broke the individual World Team scoring record (formerly held by Dirk Nowitzki) scoring 34 points. He threw in 13 rebounds for good measure. He absolutely destroyed anyone the US team put on him on Offense - and more than held his own defensively. To underscore how dominant he was in that game, he didn't start, and accomplished all that in only 24 minutes of play. He was quite simply the best player on the court, by a wide margin.
Kanter is an old-school throw back post player. He's just a beast in the paint. He has a tremendous base, and strong legs. Once he establishes post position, there's no one that will move him out. In addition, he has great footwork; looking like an established 10-year professional, rather than a 18-year old kid. He knows how to use his bulk and size to his advantage, but is also crafty in using angles, leverage and pump fakes to get his shot off. He seems to relish contact inside - most of the time initiating it himself. He has a well developed post game with a variety of up and under moves, pivots, drop steps, hooks, short jumpers, turn around and scoop shots. He's has the muscle to finish through contact, and the touch to still put up a soft shot around the rim. There's really not much that he cannot do in the post. If you try to front him, he simply holds his position for the lob. If you play behind him, he'll either score over you, or around you, or more likely THROUGH you.
Surprisingly, Kanter is not restricted to playing in the paint. He has a very polished looking jumper with range out to the International three point line. He doesn't show it off much, preferring to do his damage inside, but his mechanics are sound with squared shoulders and a nice high release. He line drives his shot a bit, but even so, he's been effective with it. Given the fact that he sets devastating screens, has great soft hands, tremendous foot work, and that nice jumper - he should be a very good pick-and-roll player in the NBA; especially if he can get a bit more arc on his shot. He displays the same fundamental form from the Free Throw line - and is a good shooter from there, hitting almost 70%.
As for the rest of his offensive game, he's not much of a ball handler, but he can take a dribble or two and go directly to the rim. Asking him to do anything else dribbling the basketball is asking for a turn over. He even broke out a spin move during the Nike game. He's alert and active on offense, making the correct pass out of double teams, and hitting cutters. He sets solid screens, not worrying about rolling to the basket until he's properly impeded the opposition's guard.
On defense, Kanter is very good in the post. Because he has a strong base, he's difficult to back down. He plays smart positional defense, using his strength and bulk to his advantage. He's active and alert and plays with great energy on the defensive end. His length helps to block a few shots, but I don't expect him to be a great shot blocker at the next level. His quickness is adequate enough to stay in front of most Centers, but he'll have trouble with quicker, perimeter oriented big men. He has very good court awareness - and anticipates well. His biggest and most desirable quality is his ability to rebound. When a shot is missed, more likely than not it will be Kanter pulling down the rebound. His bulk and length help him a lot here, as does his intelligence and timing. His high energy motor is also in evidence, as he frequently beats smaller, quicker players to the ball. He simply seems to want the ball more than everyone else..... and if he keeps that desire, he should be an excellent rebounder in the NBA.
Talented big men are hard to come by in the NBA - especially big men that are skilled, have a high intensity level and play "big". That's the way to describe Enes Kanter - he plays "big". He's a beast in the paint.... He's fundamentally sound. He rebounds in traffic... He loves contact... He's a throw back "big man" with a competitive attitude and a toughness to his game. Obviously at 18 years old, Kanter will only get better with experience - but he should be able to contribute rebounding and inside scoring right away for any Lottery team - even as a Rookie.
If the Wizards are looking to change their culture - Looking to get tougher - Looking to get more physical - they could do a lot worse than drafting