May 28, 2011

2011 NBA Draft: Minnesota Timberwolves Drafting Enes Kanter Can't Hurt, Can It?

The Minnesota Timberwolves hold the second pick in the 2011 NBA draft and questions on what they will do with it are being asked at at uncontrollable rate.
Will they draft Arizona's Derrick Williams even though the Wolves forward positions are set with Kevin Love and Michael Beasley? Would Minnesota take a reach on a point guard not named Kyrie Irving even while owning Ricky Rubio's rights? Who would the Timberwolves trade for if they were to trade the No. 2 pick?
The questions go on and on, but the immediate needs for the Timberwolves remain the same: point guard and center. The point guard position can be filled through this draft or simply by waiting for Ricky Rubio to come overseas, whenever that would be. Both moves would be risky and even riskier would be to stand content with what point guards are currently on the roster (Luke Ridnour and Jonny Flynn).
Next month's draft presents a prospect at the center position that may actually be ready for the NBA. Enes Kanter out of Turkey may be young at age 19 and somewhat untested due to him having to sit out last season for a suspension, but he is definitely a great talent.
Measuring in at 6'11.25", 259.2 pounds at the NBA draft combine, Kanter certainly has an NBA-ready body that is still capable of adding some more weight and growing another inch. His body is solid of muscle and looks to be able to take a pounding from some of the more powerful centers in the NBA. Athleticism was a question about Kanter's game, but seeing what he did in the 2010 Nike Hoop Summit and how he showcased himself at the combine pretty much disregards those concerns.
For those who didn't know, Kanter put on an absolute clinic at the 2010 Nike Hoop Summit against a fantastic college frontline consisting of Jared Sullinger, Terrence Jones and Patric Young. Sullinger, who was arguably college basketball's most dominating big man last season, looked as if he had no idea what to do to shut down the Turkish monster. Kanter went on to break Dirk Nowitzki's Summit record by scoring an upsurd 34 points in only 23 minutes.
Kanter's game is a versatile one to say the least. He could be considered a "banger" since he can do work in the paint and close to the rim while gathering in tough rebounds. He loves contact and his aggressiveness feeds off of it. Though, he could also be called a finesse center in that his jump shot from all over the floor is pretty reliable. From 15 feet out or all the way back to the three-point arc, Kanter looks very comfortable when taking the shot. If that wasn't enough, he's also a good free-throw shooter. 
With great offensive ability comes some questions about his health and his defense.
In the past, he has had a history of knee problems, and the risk it would be to take a center who has had knee trouble is very great. The most recent name that provides a perfect example of this is the 2007 first overall pick, Greg Oden. It would be incredibly detrimental for the Wolves to draft Kanter only for him to be off the court more than on the court due to injuries. This team cannot have anymore setbacks, and for Kanter to be a bust because of his knees, would be a complete catastrophe for Minnesota's team and fans.
His defense is something that hasn't been fully examined since he didn't get to play during the last collegiate season, but it's clear that he has some trouble rotating over, and he also doesn't play intense enough. This could be because he is saving a little extra for his offensive side of the game. Regardless of the reason, Minnesota already has the worst defense in the NBA, and any player that can't contribute on defense should be looked at with caution. Though, like previously stated, his defense hasn't been fully examined.
The Timberwolves may end up trading the No. 2 pick or drafting a top prospect, whoever that may be, but one thing is for sure, Minnesota needs to come away from the draft process with another impact player to pair with Love and Beasley. Could that player be Kanter? Sure, but the evaluation process on him is not done, and there is unfinished business in terms of scouting.
With the NBA Draft approaching, NBA Mock Draft season is here. Stay tuned to Bleacher Report for updated mock drafts, along with the latest NBA Draft news, analysis, rumors and predictions.

By Camden Pasch (Contributor) on May 27, 2011

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