May 15, 2011

2011 NBA Draft: Is Enes Kanter a Good Fit for the Toronto Raptors?

With Enes Kanter still being heavily linked to the Toronto Raptors it is time we take a closer look at the Turkish big man that could potentially be one of the newest Raptors this summer.

Enes Kanter is a high-upside big man who was declared ineligible for NCAA play due to the fact he received financial benefits while playing as a pro in the Euroleague.

Kanter has already wowed most NBA scouts by putting up a record 34 points and 13 rebounds at the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit against Harrison Barnes, Jared Sullinger, Kyrie Irving, Terrence Jones and more.

We should not however take these numbers out of context as Kanter was the top player on a much weaker World Team and thus had the team high in points and the game high in shots with 21.

However, what is notable from the box score is that Kanter managed eight offensive boards and was 8-of-9 from the charity stripe.

Considered a potential No. 1 pick coming into the season Kanter has a ton of upside and a relatively high floor, as at worst he projects as a backup big man on a good team, while he can be an 18-10 player on a team like the Raptors.

The positives ESPN Insider’s Chad Ford lists are as follows:

•Tough, physical player
•Very skilled, can do just about everything
•Loves to draw contact in the paint
•Crafty finisher at the basket
•Can handle and pass
•Has shooting range out to the three-point line
•7'1.25" wingspan and a solid 9'0.5" standing reach compares Kanter to a raw Al Horford and had this to say about Kanter’s game:

"Strengths: Big man with excellent size, strength and polish…Combines brute strength with a high skill level…Soft hands…Long arms and solid athleticism allow him to be a force in the paint…A tremendous rebounder. Plays with a high motor and enjoys contact…Has a strong frame and a high basketball IQ…Has a scorers mentality. Owns a diverse offensive game with the ability to use post moves and strength to score on his opponent or face the basket and knock down mid-range jump shots…Has the strength to muscle through contact and finish…Smooth offensive game. Has a soft touch and excellent shooting motion…Good free-throw shooter…Has legitimate center size. Measured 6'11", 261 lbs. at the LeBron James Skills Academy in July…Possesses great dexterity and body control for a big man…Coachable kid with a positive attitude and strong work ethic"
As we can all extrapolate from the above comments, Kanter is in reality the anti-Bargnani; a physical European big man who likes to bang and has the desire to rebound.

On skill set alone Kanter is exactly what the Raptors are looking for at the center position.

Is He a Good Fit for the Raptors?

Enes Kanter is a good fit for the Raptors everything else being equal.

As I have echoed before, playing beside a defensive liability like Andrea Bargnani may actually hurt Kanter’s offensive game by forcing him to expend extra energy on the defensive end. But if he was allowed to play beside either Ed Davis or Amir Johnson he would be able to focus on offense first and would likely post something close to 18-10 and challenge for Rookie of the Year honors.

Kanter plays a position for which Toronto has needed a solid option ever since Jermaine O’Neal left town.

This is the type of player that can potentially help his club get to the next level and given the right opportunity he could become quite a force in the NBA.

Should the Raptors Draft Him?

This is a tougher question to answer and I believe that it all depends on draft position and who is left on the board.

If we pick in the top three we should be targeting in this order: Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams, Brandon Knight.

If we fall to No. 4 then we have to decide between NCAA tournament hero Kemba Walker and intriguing big-man prospect Enes Kanter.

If I had to decide today I say that point guard is a more critical position to address, especially with some very appealing big-man options in this year's free agency including Marc Gasol, Nene and Greg Oden.

However, if the Raptors brass decides that Jerryd Bayless, coming off of an eight-game stretch to end the season with 22.5 PPG and 5.6 APG and a .484 shooting percentage, is a potential answer at the point then there is no other pick to make at No. 3 or higher than Enes Kanter.

What do you think Raptors fans? Is Enes Kanter a good fit for the Raptors or would you rather have a point guard like Brandon Knight or Kemba Walker?

This article can also be found on Raptors Digest.
2011 NBA Draft: Is Enes Kanter a Good Fit for the Toronto Raptors?
By Raju Byfield(Correspondent) on May 15, 2011

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