Last hoops season, Enes Kanter left his native Turkey to test himself against the best American college had to offer and enrolled at Kentucky. Then the ever-so-evenhanded NBA (remember the head of Miami was head of the infractions committee a couple years ago) told him he could not play because he had played for a professional program in Turkey.
So he leaves and enters the NBA draft, where size and raw skill seems a siren song to GMs. The Utah Jazz drafted him No. 3 overall, and he was off on his NBA adventure.
For seven days. Then the lockout. Needless to say, Kanter told the Deseret News he was a little frustrated.
“It’s easy for me to say that I am the unluckiest guy ever. I couldn’t play in college, and right now there is the lockout. The only thing I can do is just wait,” said Kanter…
“I haven’t played in almost two years and it’s hard within that time to go from not playing to being ready for games,”? Kanter added.
Just for the record, there are far more unlucky people in the world. Many more.
Kanter is playing now with Turkey in EuroBasket (the 2012 Olympics qualifying Tournament for Europe). Even his own coach said Kanter seems a little “lost in space,” struggling to find his spots on the court and get in a good rhythm. Which is what we should expect from a guy with a couple years off.
We told you about a fantastic breakdown of Kanter based on the early Turkey tune-ups. In isolation situations at both ends — offense and defense — he showed some skill and promise. But when it came to the team aspects of the game (passing out of the post on the double-team, help defense) he looked lost. That is what the Jazz coaching staff is going to have to teach. But if he learns he could be good.
DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, and the New Orleans Pelicans will take some time to mesh together. In his first game with New Orleans, Cousins saw a difficult opponent and massive deficits against the Houston Rockets. But there was some glimmers of hope.
Cousins, for example, had a productive statistical evening. The former Sacramento King put up 27 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals, and 4 blocks — just one swat shy of the rare 5 x 5.
Plus, he had this sweet block on Rockets star James Harden:
The Pelicans lost to the Rockets, 129-99, but it’s going to be fun to watch New Orleans battle it out for the 8th seed in the West.
New York Knicks star big man Kristaps Porzingis left Thursday night’s contest against the Cleveland Cavaliers with a sprained right ankle. He could be seen limping back to the locker room late in the second quarter, and reports after the game saw Porzingis in a walking boot.
That’s a major bummer for Knicks fans.
Porzingis, 21, dealt with a left Achilles issue earlier in the season and no doubt would like to remain on the court for the Knicks full-time to close the season.
Then again, it’s important to keep in mind that walking boots can be precautionary, especially as a team plays away from home. New York heads back home tonight and will play Philadelphia on Saturday, so there should be plenty of time for the Knicks to get their full medical staff working on assessing and treating Porzingis.
It’s not as though the Knicks were primed for a late-season run at just 23-35, but there will be less for New York fans to watch for with their best player off the floor.
Terrence Jones is no longer a member of the New Orleans Pelicans. The University of Kentucky product was removed from the team roster on Thursday after head coach Alvin Gentry said there just wasn’t enough minutes to go around after the team traded for DeMarcus Cousins.
The Pelicans roster now houses a frontcourt with most of the minutes going to Cousins, Anthony Davis, Donatas Motiejunas, Dante Cunningham, and Solomon Hill.
Gentry, via Nola.com:
“We released him because, obviously, if you look at the bigs situation we have now and there was not going to be a whole lot of minutes,” said Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry. “He wants to play. Obviously, he’s going to be a guy in a contract year and things like that, so we thought it was best to let him go.”
Jones, 25, was playing nearly 25 minutes per-game for New Orleans. While he was having a productive year, he wasn’t close to the kind of efficient numbers he put up early in his career with the Houston Rockets.
That said, Jones could be a potential candidate to bolster the frontline of a playoff team, so look for some action around him sooner rather than later.
Charles Barkley has a tendency to say some pretty wild stuff, but he’s typically guarded as a TV professional when it comes to swearing. Apparently the heat of the moment got the better of him on Thursday night as he was talking during the matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the New York Knicks.
Speaking about New York, Barkley accidentally let fly with a not-for-primetime word on live television as he discussed Spike Lee and the overall mood around the team.
Via Twitter (NSFW obviously):
In case you can’t hear that, Barkley said (in part):
“I was talking to Spike Lee at All-Star Weekend, he’s dying to get kicked out of the Garden. He don’t wanna watch this s–t.”
The TNT crew then razzed on him for committing the cardinal sin of live TV.