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.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.