June 24, 2011

2011 NBA Draft 3rd Pick: Utah Jazz Take Enes Kanter

Enes Kanter - NBA Draft

Kanter Excited To Play for Jazz

Utah Jazz fill needs with Enes Kanter, Alec Burks

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz filled two needs and grabbed two of the top players in the draft, using the No. 3 pick on 6-11 center Enes Kanter of Turkey, then taking Colorado guard Alec Burks at No. 12.

They never got the chance to take local favorite Jimmer Fredette as he was drafted No. 10 by Milwaukee, and was believed headed to Sacramento in a trade.

The 6-6 Burks has the size to play in the NBA, and the shooting touch.

He averaged 20.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists for Colorado. He was the first Colorado player in school history to score over 770 points, grab 240 rebounds and hand out 100 assists in a single season.

In Kanter the Jazz get their coveted big man, especially considering the injury issues that have plagued Mehmet Okur.

The 19-year-old Kanter was considered the best center in the draft, with raw skills and NBA size.

He is a bit of a mystery as he hasn't played basketball in nearly a year after being ruled ineligible at Kentucky.

Kanter showed flashes at the 2010 Nike Hoops Summit, scoring 34 points for the World Team to break Dirk Nowitzki's record (33). He also was Most Valuable Player for the 2009 Turkish Under 18 National team.

Jazz President Randy Rigby announced the first pick at Utah's downtown Salt Lake City arena, where more than 5,000 fans showed up to cheer on a team that they hope is rebuilding for the playoffs.

He thanked the fans for their support in what he said would be a "memorable and monumental" draft for the Jazz.

Kanter was the first of five straight international picks taken 3rd through 7.

He checked in at 262 pounds, with just 5 percent body fat. Draft analysts said Kanter is a perfect fit for the Jazz because he is a high-IQ and high-character player.

Fans, unlike a year ago when they booed the choice of Butler star Gordon Hayward at No. 9, cheered when Kanter's name was announced.

They also sounded disappointed when Fredette's name came off the board before the Jazz had a chance to pick again.

Fans came armed with plenty of signs proclaiming who they wanted on the roster.

"Ready for the new D-Will" read one in reference to Arizona star forward Derrick Williams.

Another said, "Good Knight, the Jazz got it Right," in reference to Kentucky guard Brandon Knight.

And there were plenty of signs about Jimmer, including one taunting the Suns, who picked No. 13.

"Phoenix, Fredette About It."

Whenever the screen showed Fredette, there was loud applause at the Jazz arena and more than a smattering of boos, an indication that he is a polarizing figure even in Utah.

The Jazz have needed an outside shooter since they allowed Kyle Korver to leave for Chicago, but Korver's defensive liabilities were evident in the playoffs against Miami.

The Jazz front office also seemed divided on Fredette, arguing down to the wire about who to take.

In the end, the top four guards were off the board in Kyrie Irving, Knight, Kemba Walker and Fredette.

Kanter was thrilled at going so high, and to the Jazz.

"I know Utah Jazz fans," he said from Newark. "They're crazy. I'm gonna love them."

Kanter said he will try to do everything for the Jazz, including bringing more energy to the team.

He also said he has family in Utah, a reference to Okur, another player from Turkey.

Utah Jazz fill needs with Enes Kanter, Alec Burks
By Lynn Debruin, Associated Press
Published: Thursday, June 23, 2011 7:50 p.m. MDT

June 23, 2011

Jazz get infusion of young blood

With thousands of fans standing in anticipation of the announcement at Energy Solutions Arena, the Utah Jazz landed one of the youngest, tallest players available Thursday.

Enes Kanter, 16, a 6-foot-11, 259-pound center from Turkey, became the No. 3 overall selection and the centerpiece of a Jazz draft that team president Randy Rigby described as “one of the most memorable and monumental” in franchise history.

That’s partly because the Jazz also held the No. 12 pick, which they used for Alec Burks, 19, a guard from the University of Colorado.

Brigham Young guard Jimmer Fredette was taken 10th and will play for Sacramento, via a three-team trade. The Jazz had ranked Fredette among the top-10 players, said general manager Kevin O’Connor, who wouldn’t confirm that the team tried to move up and take him.

In any case, the intrigue surrounding the Jazz’s highest-ever combination of picks in the NBA Draft and the local impact of Fredette attracted about 7,000 fans to the Jazz’s draft party. The reaction to Rigby’s announcement of Kanter was very favorable. The televised choice of Fredette, making him unavailable to the Jazz with their second first-round pick, was also cheered by a mixture of fans — some apparently happy for him and others glad he wouldn’t play for the Jazz.

Already one of the NBA’s youngest teams, the Jazz drafted two 19-year-olds. Kanter’s birthday is May 20; Burks will turn 20 next month.

“The key thing is we’ve added a couple more pieces that can grow with what we’ve got,” O’Connor said.

Kanter, whose first name is pronounced “IN-ess,” is somewhat of a mystery. The NCAA ruled him ineligible to play for the University of Kentucky as a freshman this past season because he received impermissible expenses from a club team in Turkey. Yet he’s considered a reasonably developed player for a teenager, and he impressed the Jazz with his conditioning during a private workout in Chicago.

Kanter described veteran Jazz center Mehmet Okur, who is also from Turkey, as “family,” although they’ve never met. Four other Turks play in the NBA.

Okur missed most of last season with injuries. If he’s healthy, the Jazz will be well stocked with centers and power forwards, including Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors, Okur and Kanter.

Burks, who played two seasons at Colorado, is known for his all-around athletic ability. Although his outside shooting skill is questionable, he considers himself capable of driving and scoring in the NBA.

“With my athleticism and the way I handle the ball, I just feel like there aren’t a lot of people that can stay in front of me,” he said.

The 6-foot-6 guard averaged 20.5 points and 6.5 rebounds as a Colorado sophomore, playing in the Big 12 Conference. Burks worked out for the Jazz on Monday, along with Washington State’s Klay Thompson, who went to Golden State one pick ahead of him.

Jazz get infusion of young blood

The Salt Lake Tribune

Jazz fans agree with Kanter pick — seriously

The Jazz fans attending the team’s annual NBA Draft party at Energy Solutions Arena cheered the selection of Enes Kanter and Alec Burks in the first round Thursday night.


Going back to 1984, when their team took a little-known point guard from Gonzaga named John Stockton, Utah fans have earned a reputation for their harsh initial reactions to the team’s draft picks.

For at least one year, however, the fans were receptive, especially after the Jazz grabbed Kanter at No. 3.

"… I think everybody recognized that the player we got was worthy of the pick," general manager Kevin O’Connor said.

Aside from wondering who the Jazz would draft, many in the estimated crowd of 7,500 showed up to see if BYU star Jimmer Fredette might end up with Utah.

He did not.

After the Jazz took Kanter, Fredette was taken with the 10th pick, leaving Burks for Utah at No. 12.

In the hours before he was drafted, several fans held up signs urging the Jazz to take Fredette and keep him in Utah.

"Ready for the New D-Will," one said, referring to former Jazz point guard Deron Williams.

"Good Knight, the Jazz got it right," said another, referencing Brandon Knight, another point guard in the draft, who went No. 8 to Detroit.

"Fredette: marry me," read another sign.

After Fredette was drafted ahead of the Jazz, however, sentiments changed.

The words on some signs were crossed out and replaced by handwritten messages.

"Utah got Jimmered," read one.

"Fredette, I want a divorce," the young woman’s sign read.

Jazz fans agree with Kanter pick — seriously
By Steve Luhm

The Salt Lake Tribune

Jazz V.P. breaks down Enes Kanter

Enes Kanter Pre-Draft Interview

NBA Draft 2011: Enes Kanter is the safest European pick - Terry Pluto's Pre-Draft Scribbles

1. This draft is a major, major minefield. That makes me glad the Cavs are at No. 1 and No. 4. They could have been at No. 4 and No. 9 or worse if the pingpong balls went the wrong way -- and this could have been a bummer.
2. Here's a list of the six players that most mock drafts have in the top six:Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams, Brandon Knight, Enes Kanter, Jonas Valanciunas and Jan Vesely.
3. Of that group, Williams has at least played two years of college ball at Arizona. He's 20 years old.
4. Four other players are 19: Irving, Kanter, Valanciunas, Knight.
5. The oldest is Jan Vesely at 21 . . . He has the most European experience.
6. Irving has played 11 college games. Knight played a full season at Kentucky. Kanter played at Stonebridge Academy two years ago, one game in the 2010 Hoops Summit and not any games this season. He did practice at Kentucky.
7. The supposed top six players are two college freshmen, one sophomore, one guy who played nowhere and two guys from Europe.
8. Group think at work: They are in love with the tall guys from overseas. They almost penalize a player who spends more than two years in college.
9. Four of these guys are 19! How good can they be right away in the NBA?
10. No matter how they spin it, there are real reasons for concern with Kanter, Vesely and Valanciunas. They are big men (who tend to develop slower and later), and they have so little experience. Vesely can run and dunk, but the lean 6-foot-11 forward shot 44 percent from the foul line at his last Euro stop. He's never shot higher than 58 percent at the foul line as a Euro pro. So he's not one of those long, tall Euros swishing 3-pointers.
11. I find it hard to believe that all three Euros should be ranked higher than the likes of Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson and some of the other college players.
12 I am CONVINCED that Cleveland State's Norris Cole will have a better career than at least one of these guys in the top six. This is not to make Cole a lottery pick, but to say that there will be some major flameouts in the top six, especially with the big guys. Jimmer Fredette will be better than one of these Euros because he is an incredible outside shooter.
13 I did watch tape of the 2010 Hoops Summit, where Kanter dominated in a game with the likes of Irving, Knight, Harrison Barnes and Jared Sullinger. At 6-10, 260, he bulled his way to layups and rebounds. But it was an all-star game with little defense and not much physical play.
14. I can't believe I'm writing this because he didn't play a game this season -- but Kanter seems to be the safest pick of the three Euros. He was on the Kentucky scout team this season, so at least he practices against good players.
15. I bet there is a Carlos Boozer (in a good way) in this draft. In 2002, the Cavs grabbed Boozer at No. 35, despite his terrific career at Duke. Scouts underrated him because they saw so much of him. I think that guy could be Kenneth Faried of Morehead State, who averaged 14.5 rebounds. He doesn't have Boozer's jumper, but he is a rebounding machine. I hear little about him other than Portland make take him. Faried had 20 points and 18 rebounds against Florida. It was 15-12 against OSU. He had 17 rebounds in the NCAA tournament when his team upset Louisville. In his last three years, he averaged 13-13-14.5 rebounds. Yes, it's the Ohio Valley, but he'll rebound in the NBA.
Published: Thursday, June 23, 2011, 12:20 PM
Updated: Thursday, June 23, 2011, 2:32 PM

Enes Kanter - 2011 NBA Draft Media Avail

Enes Kanter - Draft

June 17, 2011

Draft 2011: 1-on-1 with Enes Kanter

Kanter likened to ‘Big Foot:’ Unknown of NBA Draft

ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla was messing with Sasquash when appraising the NBA Draft stock of would-be Kentucky big man Enes Kanter.

“He’s kind of like Big Foot,” Fraschilla said Thursday on an ESPN-sponsored teleconference. “There’s been a couple of sightings.”

Of course, the NCAA ruled Kanter permanently ineligible because he received compensation in excess of permitted amounts while playing for a professional team in his native Turkey. That meant Kanter did not play in games this past season. The year before, he only played for a prep school.

Still, Fraschilla judged Kanter as a solid lottery pick at 6-foot-11, 262 pounds and five percent body fat.

“Pretty good prototype of Al Horford-type center-forward,” Fraschilla said.

While acknowledging that Kanter did not have a “large resume,” Fraschilla said he deferred to UK Coach John Calipari’s judgment.

“I’m going to go by what John Calipari said,” Fraschilla said. “Kanter could have been realistically what Jared Sullinger was for Ohio State.”

Chad Ford, a draft analyst for ESPN, wondered aloud how the two-year absence from games might affect Kanter.

Kanter likened to ‘Big Foot:’ Unknown of NBA Draft
Jerry Tipton
June 16th, 2011

Timberwolves workout Kanter, Williams up next

MINNEAPOLIS — Enes Kanter worked out for the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday and said he'd love for them to take him No. 2 overall in next week's draft.

Kanter was originally scheduled to workout by himself, but instead went against Oakland center Keith Benson. The Timberwolves were impressed by his willingness to work out with other players, something that doesn't always happen with some of the draft's top prospects.

The Wolves also worked out Colorado shooting guard Alec Burks and Providence guard Marshon Brooks.

The Timberwolves also have Arizona forward Derrick Williams in town. Williams was scheduled to work out on Thursday afternoon with several other lower tier prospects.

Timberwolves workout Kanter, Williams up next
Associated Press
June 16, 2011, 1:21PM

Enes Kanter to work out for Cleveland Cavaliers again on Monday

Turkish center Enes Kanter told reporters in Minnesota that he was returning to Cleveland for a second workout on Monday, and his agent told reporters Kanter was scheduled to meet Cavs owner Dan Gilbert. Agent Max Ergul also told Minnesota reporters Kanter was not ''auditioning'' for the No. 4 pick, clearly indicating he thought his client could be taken with the No. 1 pick.

Kanter worked out in Cleveland last Tuesday and worked out in Minnesota today. Derrick Williams also was scheduled to work out for the Wolves today.

As has been the case throughout the pre-draft process, the Cavs declined to comment on the reports or the workouts. Williams worked out in Cleveland on Tuesday and Kyrie Irving worked out in Cleveland last Thursday.

Published: Thursday, June 16, 2011, 2:29 PM Updated: Thursday, June 16, 2011, 3:28 PM
By Mary Schmitt Boyer, The Plain Dealer The Plain Dealer

2011 NBA Draft: Center Enes Kanter has another visit with Cavs scheduled

MINNEAPOLIS: Turkish center Enes Kanter will return to Cleveland on Monday for a second visit with the draft approaching.

The 6-foot-11 Kanter worked out for the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday. The Wolves own the second pick in the June 23 draft, while the Cavaliers have the first and fourth picks.

Kanter's agent says his client will return to Cleveland on Monday and meet with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert. The Cavs are widely expected to take Duke point guard Kyrie Irving with the first pick, but Max Ergul says he thinks his client is still in the mix for that spot.

The 19-year-old Kanter did not play basketball last season after being ruled ineligible to play at Kentucky because he had been paid to play professionally in Turkey.

2011 NBA Draft: Center Enes Kanter has another visit with Cavs scheduled
By Jon Krawczynski
Associated Press
POSTED: 03:10 p.m. EDT, Jun 16, 2011

June 13, 2011

Enes Kanter to work out for Wizards

The Wizards have a workout scheduled with Turkish big man Enes Kanter on Friday in Chicago, which is significant because Kanter’s agent, Max Ergul, has already stated that he doesn’t expect his client to be around for the sixth pick that Washington currently holds.

During the NBA combine in Chicago last month, Kanter expressed his desire to play for the Wizards and possibly team with his “good friend” John Wall. The Wizards interviewed the 6-foot-11 Kanter in Chicago but had been hoping to arrange another meeting with him before the June 23 draft in Newark.

The 19-year-old Kanter missed all of last season at Kentucky because of violating NCAA eligibility rules and is projected to go anywhere from second to sixth. He has already worked out for Cleveland, Minnesota, Utah and Toronto. Ergul said the two sides agreed to meet before a Wizards contingent went to Treviso, Italy, over the weekend to scout international players at the Adidas Eurocamp.

“I think they know he’s not going to be there. They need to move up,” Ergul said of the Wizards. “It’s my job to make my kid available and accessible to very good franchises with new ownership and a good front office trying to do a job for the fans. It’s my job to help their cause. They want to get to know the kid a little bit more, so they can go back and make some major decisions if they need to.”

The Wizards will host another workout at Verizon Center on Tuesday, when they welcome Florida State forward Chris Singleton, Kansas forward Marcus Morris, Tennessee forward Tobias Harris, UCLA forward Tyler Honeycutt, Purdue guard E’Twaun Moore and UTEP guard Julyan Stone.

06:33 PM ET, 06/13/2011
By Michael Lee

NBA draft 2011 and Cleveland Cavaliers links: Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams or even Enes Kanter at No. 1?

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- We're 10 days away from the NBA draft, and it seems that as the days decrease, an undercurrent of doubt increases.
The majority of analysts still believe the Cleveland Cavaliers will take Duke point guard Kyrie Irving with the first overall pick, but -- if mock drafts mean anything, and they usually don't -- a sense of uncertainty has emerged.
The Cavs also own the fourth overall pick. FoxSports.com carries NBADraft.net's mock draft, which predicts that Cleveland will make Arizona forward Derrick Williams pick No. 1.

The NBADraft.net comment on Williams:

The Cavs have yet to settle on either Williams or Kyrie Irving, but it's possible they can have both. Owner Dan Gilbert has said he would love to see them grab Williams. He has a big wingspan and plays with high energy. His toughness playing through a broken pinkie and showing no ill effects was impressive. At the combine, Williams showed he has plenty of size and strength to play in the post at the NBA level, and he retains the same great agility that made him the most unstoppable forward in college basketball this season. If Cleveland considers there to be four elite-level players available, taking Williams at No. 1 would leave their options open better than Irving.

NBADraft.net predicts that Irving and big man Enes Kanter of Turkey will be off the board by the time the Cavs pick at No. 4, and will thus take Kentucky point guard Brandon Knight.

The Plain Dealer and cleveland.com continue Cavaliers, NBA and NBA draft coverage.

NBA draft 2011 and Cleveland Cavaliers links: Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams or even Enes Kanter at No. 1?
By Starting Blocks The Plain Dealer
Published: Monday, June 13, 2011, 6:50 PM Updated: Monday, June 13, 2011, 8:33 PM

June 12, 2011

NBA Draft 2011: Enes Kanter and the 10 Riskiest Prospects

Photo Courtesy of nationofblue.comAt some point during the live telecast on June 23's NBA draft, the following phrase or something like it will be heard: "That was a risky pick right there."
Sometimes, the risks taken on draft day pan out, like when the Minnesota Timberwolves selected Kevin Garnett straight out of high school in 1995, making him the first high school player selected in the first round since Moses Malone; or when the Los Angeles Lakers traded Vlade Divac to the Charlotte Hornets on draft day in 1996, for a shooting guarding from Lower Merion, Pennsylvania named Kobe Bryant.
At other times though, the risk costs a general manager or team president his job, like when Michael Jordan made Kwame Brown the first pick in the draft for the Washington Wizards. Brown flopped, Jordan came back to play for two more years, and then was told the ownership stake he formerly had in the team would not be sold back to him upon his third retirement.
Risks are taken every year on draft day, and they will be this year as well. Whether or not they will pan out is anybody's guess, but the guys on this list are the ones most likely to hear that familiar phrase attached to their name on June 23.

1. Enes Kanter
Photo Courtesy of nationofblue.comThis picture right here is one of very few of Enes Kanter in a Kentucky Wildcats uniform. Kanter was declared ineligible for the entirety of the season and never suited up for a single game during his time in Lexington.
Kanter, by all acounts, has as much talent in his seven-foot frame as any other player in the draft. But the team that selects him has to understand that by the time the presumed lockout is over, it will have been well over a year since Kanter last played in an organized game that counted.
At 19 years old, he's already very talented, and he has a lot of room to improve. However, pinning the hopes of a franchise on a 19-year-old with very little playing experience in the lead up to the draft has to cause teams a little concern. 

2. Jimmer Fredette

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 24:  Jimmer Fredette #32 of the Brigham Young Cougars shoots over Scottie Wilbekin #5 of the Florida Gators in the second half during the Southeast regional of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on MarchJimmer Fredette is one of the more polarizing players in recent draft history.
There are those who swear he can contribute at the NBA level, either as a starter or off the bench. Others though, doubt that a player who for most of his college career had the ball in his hands all the time can make the transition to being a role player at the next level. 
The bigger (biggest) concern about Jimmer, though, is his defense. He was practically a sieve on that side of the ball during his tenure at BYU, and the guards at the NBA level are obviously much tougher to defend than those in the Mountain West Conference.






3. Bismack Biyombo

Photo Courtesy of slamonline.comBismack Biyombo is supposedly 18 years old. There are some who believe he could actually be as old as 23-26, and that is cause for concern. 
If Biyombo isn't really 18, then his raw talent isn't "potential," it's "lack of an offensive game."
Any time you're looking at drafting an international player, there also have to be concerns about culture adjustment, whether they can play the NBA style of basketball and whether they can handle increased playing time. 







4. Kemba Walker

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04:  Kemba Walker #15 of the Connecticut Huskies looks on against the Butler Bulldogs during the National Championship Game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at Reliant Stadium on April 4, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Kemba Walker is a shoot-first point guard. Unless he can be an efficient enough scorer like Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook or Deron Williams, he won't be doing enough for his team in the NBA.
Walker is a great leader, but NBA point guards need to be able to get easy shots for their teammates. Walker struggled with turnovers a little bit at Connecticut and didn't have a great shooting percentage - he shot just 42 percent from the field and 33 percent from three point range.
If teams don't have to respect his jumper and can force him into turnovers, he can't be a starting point guard. 
At just 6'1", Walker may also struggle to defend bigger guards at the next level, and that is cause for concern as well.





5. Jeremy Tyler

Photo Courtesy of totalprosports.com
 One year after Brandon Jennings blazed the trail for high school athletes to play in Europe for a year instead of going to college, Jeremy Tyler took it to another level. Tyler decided to forego his senior season in high school and instead play two years as a professional.
Tyler didn't fare that well in his first international season but was slightly better this year. He's impressed in workouts so far, but his stock has dropped considerably from where it was when he was a high school junior.
He showed fairly bad decision making in this experience, and teams don't like bad decision making. Someone will take a flyer on Tyler either late in the first round or in the second round, but had he stayed in America, he might have gone much earlier on draft night.  

6. Jonas Valanciunas

Photo Courtesy of eurohopes.com
 With a buyout that could be worth up to a reported $3 million, Valanciunas could have some trouble leaving his current team, Lietuvos Rytas. 
Because NBA teams can only pay up to $500,000 toward a player's buyout clause, Valanciunas could be on the hook for up to $2.5 million, and with a lockout likely looming, he may not be able to recoup that money in salary.
Valanciunas could then decide to stay in Europe, which is why it could be risky to take him. The longer he stays, the longer he is not contributing on an NBA roster. 



7. Josh Selby

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 25:  Josh Selby #32 of the Kansas Jayhawks looks on during the southwest regional of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament against the Richmond Spiders at the Alamodome on March 25, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas. Kansas defeated R Josh Selby came into Kansas as the highest rated point guard in his class but did not impress much in his only season in Lawrence. 
He was suspended for the first nine games of the year and then missed a few more with an injury before coming back and not contributing all that much.
Kansas was just fine without him for most of the year, and when he got back, he didn't really fit in their slow-paced big-man-centered offense. Selby has been working hard to prove that he can be a better player at the NBA level, but the concern about a drop off has to be there. 

8. Marshon Brooks

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Marshon Brooks #2 of the Providence Friars dribbles the ball against Jimmy Butler #33 of the Marquette Golden Eagles during the first round of the 2011 Big East Men's Basketball Tournament presented by American Eagle Outfitters at Marshon Brooks had an incredible four-year career at Providence, culminating last year with a 24.6 points per game scoring average, good for second in the country. That sounds like the exactly the recipe an NBA team would look for in a shooting guard.
However, the Providence teams that Brooks played on were simply not good teams. The Friars finished above .500 only once in his four years, falling to Miami in the NIT his sophomore season.
There's a lot to be said for how well Brooks played during his college career, but teams may worry that he is simply a guy who can put up impressive stats on a bad team. He'll have to adjust to not having the ball in his hands as much and becoming a complementary player. 

9. Charles Jenkins

Photo Courtesy of Associated Press via sportsillustrated.cnn.com Charles Jenkins played at his college basketball at Hofstra.
The quality of competition at Hofstra is not even in the same stratosphere as the NBA.
Jenkins, like Walker and Fredette, is a score-first point guard who is used to dominating the ball. He'll have to make adjustments in the NBA in order to be successful, while adjusting to the much tougher competition. 









10. Jordan Hamilton

 Jordan Hamilton had a really impressive season for Rick Barnes and the Texas Longhorns this season, and at 6'9" and 220 pounds, he has the size to play either small forward or power forward in the NBA.

TULSA, OK - MARCH 20:  Jordan Hamilton #3 of the Texas Longhorns reacts at the end of their 70-69 loss to the Arizona Wildcats in the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at BOK Center on March 20, 2011 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  (Photo by T

The one knock on Hamilton is his shot selection, and NBA teams will just not tolerate a rookie getting too shot happy and always calling their own number.

There was a perception that Hamilton was a selfish basketball player who only looked for his own offense, and that will have to change as he moves forward. Hamilton is a highly skilled basketball player, and he knows it.

That plays to his advantage because he is supremely confident in his own abilities, but it can also work to his detriment if he gets too self-involved on the court. 

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 Jared Dubin (Contributor) on June 12, 2011

June 10, 2011

NBA draft position preview: big men

The list of the top big men in the 2011 NBA Draft is littered with names that even die-hard hoops fans may not be familiar with. Four of our Top 5 are international players, and the only American born player -- Tristan Thompson -- played just one collegiate season at Texas. Teams that go big at the top of the draft will be taking a big gamble. Because of the uncertainty at the top, teams looking for a post player in middle of the first round (like the Sixers picking at No. 16) could come away with a steal. Some more established and recognizable names will fall, while lottery teams bank on the potential of the players listed below.

1. Enes Kanter (6-11, 260, Kentucky)

Kanter sums up this year's crop of post players perfectly. The 19-year-old has all the tools, but good luck getting a handle on how he'll perform against NBA competition.

Unless you've followed Turkish basketball closely, chances are you haven't seen Kanter play. He spent last season sitting on the Kentucky bench after being ruled ineligible by the NCAA. He practiced everyday with the Wildcats, but practicing and game action are far different animals. Kanter is an extremely polished and athletic post player, that rare combination of size and skill.

He's a legitimate center at 6-11, and is able to step out and knock down the mid-range jump shot. Kanter also has the intangibles in his favor -- from all accounts he's very coachable and handled his frustrating season at Kentucky with maturity beyond his years. Look for Kanter to go in the Top 5, maybe as high as No. 3 to the Jazz.

2. Jan Vesely (6-11, 240, Czech Republic)

Like Kanter, Vesely isn't your typical big man. The 21-year-old is an extremely gifted athlete who can excel on the offensive end right away. Vesely is a high-energy guy who would be a great fit for a team that likes to push the tempo. Consistency is the question mark with Vesely, who some feel is a tweener at the small and power forward positions.

Vesely will rely on his athleticism and explosiveness from the jump in the NBA. He's billed as having a quick first step and being a great finisher around the rim. Vesely will need to improve his strength and play on the defensive end to fulfill his potential as a Top 10 pick. The Raptors could take a chance on him with the fifth selection.

3. Jonas Valanciunas (6-11, 240, Lithuania)

In the mold of his foreign counterparts, Valanciunas is able to run the floor and is very skilled with the ball in his hands. Valanciunas is considered by some to have the most talent and potential of any of the international players in this year's draft. At 21-years- old, he has significant European experience under his belt.

The knocks on Valanciunas are familiar: needs to add strength, improve his defense and consistency to be a factor over the course of an 82-game season. But his upside will be too much for a team picking in the Top 10 to turn down.

4. Bismack Biyombo (6-9, 240, Spain)

Biyombo was born in the Congo, but last played professionally in Spain. Where as other international players are known for their offense, the 20-year-old Biyombo is a defense-first big man. He's one of the top rebounders and interior defenders in the draft -- an elite level shot blocker with a NBA-ready body. His offensive game needs serious work, but whichever team drafts him will take the immediate dividends of his defense and wait for his offense to evolve.

Biyombo should go anywhere in the 8-13 range with the Pistons, Bobcats and Bucks being the frontrunners for his services.

5. Tristan Thompson (6-9, 225, Texas)

Thompson has a ton of potential. He averaged 13 points and eight rebounds as a freshman at Texas. Thompson's frame has all the makings of a terrific rebounder and shot blocker. He made great strides offensively during his time in Austin, a lefty who is a handful to defend on the low block.

Thompson, 20, attacks the offensive glass, taking advantage of his terrific leaping ability and nose for the ball. He'll get the bulk of his points early in his career in transition and on the offensive glass. Look for Thompson to go anywhere in the 10-15 range.

5 others to keep an eye on: Markieff Morris (Kansas); Kenneth Faried (Morehead St.); Donatas Motiejunas (Lithuania); Tobias Harris (Tennessee); Justin Harper (Richmond).

NBA draft position preview: big men
Thursday, June 9, 2011

Posted: 11 a.m.
By Sean Kane
E-mail Sean Kane at skane@comcastsportsnet.com
CSNPhilly.com Contributor

Dime Q&A: DeAndre Liggins Talks NBA Draft, Kentucky & Enes Kanter

The University of Kentucky basketball program under John Calipari saw five players get selected in the first round of last year’s NBA Draft, and this year has another expected lottery pick in Brandon Knight. However, one guy who hasn’t gotten the hype of John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins or Knight is DeAndre Liggins, who entered this year’s draft after his junior season.

Liggins has been Kentucky’s defensive stopper over the past two seasons, always assigned to guard the opposing team’s best player. While defense is what he’s known for, Liggins’ offensive game has shown signs of improvement since he first arrived at UK, as he has become a respectable outside shooter and has the athleticism to get to the rim. Had Liggins not been overshadowed at times by Kentucky’s bigger names, he would probably be much better known by those outside the Bluegrass State. I caught up with DeAndre at his Nets draft workout and talked about UK, defense and his draft prospects.

*** *** ***

Dime: You participated in the NBA Group Workout held here in New Jersey in May and got feedback from scouts and other NBA personnel on your game. How much did that influence your decision to stay in the draft?
DeAndre Liggins: When I first came here for the group workout I had a good showing, but I still felt like I had something to prove. Coming here helped me out a lot because I got to show scouts what I could do.

Dime: What did you hear from the scouts in New Jersey and before that workout that made you confident enough to stay in the draft?
DL: I heard that a lot of teams liked me but a couple of teams said that I needed to go back to school and needed another year to work on my game. I felt like I could show scouts that I could do more in workouts like these and improve my draft stock.

Dime: How hard was it for you to forgo your senior season at Kentucky, especially considering UK could be national championship contenders next season?
DL: It was hard. It was really hard thinking about that, but I was also thinking about my family, and my new child that just got here who’s four months old now. It was difficult not to go back, but I just had to stick with it (staying in the draft) and go with my heart.

Dime: What is your fondest memory of your time in Lexington?
DL: Definitely when I hit that three-point shot against North Carolina in the Elite Eight (that helped seal the game for the Wildcats to send them to the Final Four).

Dime: Describe what is was like to play in front of 23,500 fans every night in Rupp Arena and for UK. What did that mean to you personally?
DL: I was always nervous at the beginning of the game playing at Rupp, but once the jump ball went up I was calm. It’s a thrill to play in front of 24,000 fans every night.

Dime: UK fans are known as some of the most devoted in college basketball. What’s the craziest encounter you’ve ever had with a UK fan?
DL: When I was out one time someone wanted me to sign their sock (laughs).

Dime: At Kentucky you were known as a defensive stopper. Do you see yourself playing that role in the NBA as well?
DL: Yeah definitely. Defense is my bread and butter so that’s going to be what I’m known for in the League. But I’ve also got to improve my offense a little bit.

Dime: Who was the hardest player for you to guard in the SEC this past year?
DL: Probably (Vanderbilt shooting guard) John Jenkins. He is constantly moving and you’ve got to chase him around screens the whole time so it’s difficult to guard him.

Dime: You are one of the few people who got to see Enes Kanter compete this year in practice. Is he worthy of all the hype?
DL: Absolutely. Enes is a really hard worker, he’s a great competitor and he’s a beast on the boards, so he’s going to be a very good NBA player.

Dime: Coach Calipari has another star-studded recruiting class this year. What makes recruits want to play for him and for UK?
DL: Players see us making the Final Four or the Elite Eight and being on ESPN all the time. They see all the hype and love surrounding the program, anyone would love to come to UK right now.

Dime Q&A: DeAndre Liggins Talks NBA Draft, Kentucky & Enes Kanter
By Daniel Marks
College, NBA, NBA Draft / Jun 8, 2011 / 2:30 pm

Enes Kanter Projections

All Wolves fans know that with David Kahn, where there's draft rumor smoke, there's probably fire.  Since multiple sources have reported the Wolves are interested in Enes Kanter, I decided the other day to try to talk myself into the pick.  Since I'm not a professional scout, like many posters on Hoopus I really primarily on draft sites and quantitative data to get a feeling for prospects, and the oft-repeated problem with evaluating Kanter this way is that these sites have no data about his performance.
It turns out, however, that there ARE some data about Kanter's performance in competitive basketball games.  In particular, at fibaeurope.com, we can find 17 games and 524 minutes worth of data about Kanter's performance in the 2008 and 2009 European Men's under 18 championships.  His performance there was very good: Per 36 minutes, Kanter averaged about 22 points on 0.627 TS%, 18 rebounds, 1 assist, 1.5 blocks, 1 steal, 2 fouls and 3 turnovers.  Considering the level of competition, what do these numbers mean, and do they have any relevance to the NBA?


First: Kanter wasn't just good in these 17 games, he was dominant.  His overall raw production is better than any other player in the online history of the tournament - fibaeurope has box score stats for the top division going back to 1996 and no player (out of 1,874) has posted a higher Win Scores / minute than Kanter did in 2008.  The next closest player to Kanter's 25.4 WS/40 that year was Valanciunas in 2009 and 2010, with 23.8 and and 24.2, respectively; and besides Kanter's 20.6 in 2009, only two other players have posted a WS/40 above 20 (E. Lorbek and M. Raduljica, with 21.9 and 20.5, respectively).  That's pretty dominant.
Fine, you say, but any player who can play in the NBA should dominate against this level of competition.  Well, it turns out that 15 players 6'9" or taller did play in the tournament (during the period that stats are available) and later log minutes in the NBA: Alexis Ajinca, Andris Biedrins, Omri Casspi, Semih Erden, Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, Victor Khryapa, Andrei Kirilenko, Kosta Koufos, Maciej Lampe, Ian Mahinmi, Dirk Nowitzki, Johan Petro, Darius Songaila, and Ronnie Turiaf.   None of them dominated the way Kanter did.  But more importantly, this gives us the opportunity to see if we can learn something about Kanter's likely NBA performance.

Forecasting Kanter's NBA Stats

Using the data from FIBA and BB-ref career per 36 averages for each of the 15 players above, I produced the following prediction for Kanter's TS% and Per 36 numbers:


Scoring - True Shooting Percentage and Points

Here's a plot of each player's TS% in the under-18 championships versus the players TS% in the NBA.  Two "outliers" were removed: Erden, whose TS% increased dramatically (from 0.44 to 0.59) due to a drastic reduction in usage; and Lampe, who had the most extreme drop in TS% in the data set (from 0.54 to 0.44) for no reason that I could see.

The best-fit line (shown in the image) has an r^2 of about 0.4, but a p-value of 0.04, so U18 TS% is statistically significant but only explains about 40% of the variation in NBA TS% among this sample.  In any case, if you plug in Kanter's 0.627 TS% to the linear model found by regression, you get a predicted NBA TS% of 0.576.

The regression for points has an even worse r^2:

I think the relatively low r^2 in both of these models can be explained primarily by variation in usage: most, but not all, of these players had high usage in the U18 tournament but they had a wider range of usage in the NBA. Most of the points above the best-fit line represent players with consistent usage between the two leagues, while it is more of a mixed bag below the best-fit line. Since I would expect Kanter to have high usage in the NBA (due to being drafted early) I think the model gives a reasonable prediction for his TS% and scoring.


Kanter's 18 Rebounds per 36 minutes is off the charts both among the players in the NBA sample and all players with at least 40 minutes in the U18 tournament since 1996 - the next highest is Valanciunas with 15.  So the model may be underpredicting his rebounds/36 at 10.1.  (This model excludes one outlier, Biedrins, who somehow saw his rebounds/36 increase by 50% - from 8 to 12 - between the U18 tournament and the NBA, despite playing his first season in the NBA only a few months after playing in the tournament)

Assists, Steals,  and Blocks

Several of the older players in the sample appeared to have no blocks data (or just had really bad luck collecting no blocks in 100-200 minutes across 7-9 games) but otherwise these are pretty straightforward translations with pretty good r^2 values:

To show better detail, I truncated one point from the Steals plot: AK47 is way off to the right at 5.4 steals/36 in U18 play. (His NBA STL/36 of 1.6 almost perfectly fits the model)

Kanter's numbers are right  around the median for these stats: they don't look great or terrible.  (Although given his high usage the AST/36 numbers are a little low.  He might be kind of a black hole)

Turnovers and Fouls

Linear models for TOV/36 and PF/36 had a low r^2, mostly because there does not seem to be much variation between the players in the sample at the NBA level: they all had between 1.6 and 2.4 TO/36 (the r^2 for the "best fit" line here was 0.02) so to be safe I went with the maximum value among the NBA players.  The model for PF/36 looks like this:

Like TS%, turnovers and, to a lesser extend fouls, will depend on usage.  Since Kanter already had a high usage rate in the U18 tournaments and we would expect him to have a high NBA usage rate based on being picked early in the lottery, his PF/36 may slightly exceed the 3.8 predicted by the model.

Exploring Sample Size

While 500+ minutes and 17 games is not exactly a small sample, it's not huge either; and 15 players are a pretty small set to build a translation model from.  In order to estimate the potential for error in the model due to sample size, I used resampling ("the bootstrap") to compute confidence intervals.  The 10th percentile of predictions for each stat came out like this:


What does it mean?

In resampling, the 10th percentile of predicted WP48 for Kanter was 0.14 - so roughly there is a 90% chance of producing a higher prediction, depending on randomness in the sample. That is a very good center, similar by Berri's metrics to players like Al Jefferson (WP48 of 0.127) and Elton Brand (0.146).  Especially given Kanter's dominance on the boards, I think he is likely to produce along the lines of these two players, and that is reasonable, if not exciting, production for a non-superstar pick.  I'm not sure if Kanter is a good fit for the wolves, especially because of rumors of his defensive inadequacy, but he seems like a good value generally.

Of course, these data are old.  More recent observations of Kanter seem to have been mixed, which is why it is more important than usual to combine scouting data with stats in this case.  Finally, there is one cautionary tale in the U18 data set:

Enes Kanter Projections
by hopps on Jun 8, 2011 4:12 AM CDT