After attending the scrimmage last Saturday and getting my first real look at this Jazz team since the off-season I came away with a few questions answered. First, Trey Burke is definitely a rookie and I do think he will struggle until he gets adjusted to the pace of the NBA game. In the second half of the scrimmage he did look better and made some great plays out there which makes me believe he will be a great point guard in this league once he can figure it all out. He needs to be able to finish at the rim, he has a great ability to get to the hoop but has a hard time finishing, if he can’t figure out how to finish he’s going to have a rough season. With that being said there was a very bright spot in this scrimmage that honestly should have been expected. Enes Kanter was absolutely dominate. Not only has he improved this offseason but he showed some things that Karl Malone I’m sure was preaching to him.
Kanter displayed amazing foot work which we have become accustom to now. If we should thank Al Jefferson for anything while he was here it might be everything he taught to Enes. Enes is able to pivot down low unlike many of the big men in this league. Enes also uses pump fakes successfully to get defenders off their feet for easy lay-ups and dunks. I would like to point out that Andris Biedrins is not a bad defender and Enes Kanter was dominate Saturday primarily against Biedrins. It seemed as though every time Enes got the ball on the block he either scored or got fouled and went to the free throw line. Enes is BIG, he should dominate the paint most nights as teams will also have to worry about Derrick Favors down low.
The one thing I saw from Enes that convinced me that he will have a big season is how Enes ran the floor in the scrimmage. Enes seemed to not only beat his defender down the floor, he beat every player before they could get back down on defense which led to two easy dunks for Kanter. I don’t remember seeing that a lot from Kanter last season and can’t help but to think that this must be Karl Malone’s influence. Greg Miller spoke to this exact thing when Malone was brought on as a big man coach “And when he got the rebound, he didn’t just want to beat his opponent down the floor. He wanted to give [John] Stockton the outlet pass, and beat Stockton down the floor. So he was on both ends of the court.” Karl was always a hard worker and busted his butt every single game. Malone never took a play off and up to his final season played nearly every single game no matter how banged up he was.
These traits are what I’m hoping to see relayed to Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors. Last season Al Jefferson spoke to the fact that he could teach Enes a move or give Enes advice on how to do something in warm ups before a game and Enes could go implement those things immediately in the game that very night. Kanter is a very bright individual and has a unique ability to take what he is shown and apply it right away. There isn’t a better player that can mold Enes Kanter right now than Karl Malone and we saw Saturday at the scrimmage how Malone has already influenced Kanter’s game.
The third part of Kanter’s game that was good to see at the scrimmage was his jump shot. Kanter can shoot the ball and has a smooth stroke for a big man. In warm ups at the scrimmage, Kanter not only took jump shots from mid range but was seen taking 3 pointers. Now I don’t believe we will see Kanter shoot a bunch of 3’s this year but this illustrates how well Kanter can shoot the ball. There aren’t many players in this league with Kanter’s size and all around ability to play the game of basketball. The signs all point to Kanter having a monster season and given this opportunity to prove himself, we should all expect very big things out of Enes Kanter this season. Below I’ve included a high light video from the scrimmage last Saturday. Tuesday is the first preseason game for the Jazz against Golden State at 7:00 p.m.MST.