Three– Enes Kanter has taken three 3 pointers in his entire NBA career.
The arrival of Quin Snyder in Salt Lake City marked the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. It marked the end of the slow, post-centric offense as seen under former head coach Ty Corbin. What Jazz fans watch on the floor in ’14-’15 remains to be seen however, from what we’ve seen from summer league, Jazz fans can expect to see an offense similar to what the Hawks ran last season; an open-post, spread floor, with lots of ball movement… Oh yeah, and a lot of three point attempts. Its clear that Utah is looking to trend ahead of the curve of San Antonio style basketball with the hire of Snyder who, like Jazz GM Dennis Lindsay, is a Gregg Popovich disciple. That means that a non-passing, inefficient, low-post scorer no longer has a place in Salt Lake City.
It has been noted by fans, and league execs alike that the coaching change made by Utah this offseason will benefit the likes of Gordon Hayward, and Alec Burks. But what about Enes Kanter? Kanter, entering the final year of his rookie deal, is going to be playing a drastically different role this season than he’s ever played before. His ability to adapt, and transform his young game will dictate any offers he might receive in restricted free agency. That role I’m speaking of should look something like the one played by Hawks big man, Pero Antic last season.
Antic, a 32 year old rookie from Macedonia logged just under one thousand minutes for Atlanta last season. After Al Horford tore his pectoral in late December, Antic started 26 games and averaged 10 points and 6 rebounds doing so. He shot 43% from the field, and 34% from beyond the arc in starts. Antic hoisted up 171 3-point attempts (3.4 per game), 139 of which came above the break, per NBA.com. This was a result of Antic running a lot of pick and pops, and weak side spot ups on pick and rolls. Much like what Brock Motum, and Malcom Thomas were running for the Jazz in summer league.
Antic and Kanter have almost identical body types, both listed at 6’11” and 260 lbs. Like Antic, Kanter has great, natural touch. While Kanter has yet to show what he can do from beyond the arc his mid-range numbers suggest that he’ll at least be able to reach Antic’s 33% from three. Kanter shot 37% from 16-23’ last season, just a notch under the league average of 39%.
Perhaps it was his time spent with the Left Block Bully, Al Jefferson or perhaps it was his time spent under a coach who overvalued low-post scoring, but Kanter has stubbornly gone about his game with his back to the basket, passing rarely, and scoring inefficiently. Kanter’s post touches are about to drop dramatically, and his ability spread the floor, and pass could determine whether or not he is still playing in a Jazz uniform come February.