Enes Kanter proves his value without even being on the court

Enes Kanter has sat the last three games for the New York Knicks due to back spasms. During that three game span the Knicks have not win a game, and that includes an ugly loss to the 4-16 Atlanta Hawks. Kristaps Porzingis has missed a game as well during this three-game losing streak, but what has been the one constant? No Enes Kanter.

Kanter is known for his offense and rebounding, while not being a very good defender. However, I think he plays a bigger role on the defensive end than he is given credit for and what the statistics say. Including the last three games, the Knicks are allowing 104.7 points per game. During the three-game losing streak without Kanter, the Knicks are allowing a whopping 112 points per game. That includes 116 points to the Hawks, who are averaging only 102.2 points per game. The reason may not be because of the absence of Kanter, but I would say it has at least a bit to do with it. When looking at the offensive side of things it is obvious that the Knicks are dearly missing Kanter. The Knicks are averaging 104 points per game through 20 games this year. However, during this three-game losing streak, they are only averaging 99 points per game, which is tied for 4th worst in the league over the last three games.

Let’s take a look at Kanter’s rankings among NBA Centers who have played at least 300 minutes through November 27th.

  • 90.6 FT% (1st)
  • 24.26 PER (4th)
  • 63.5 FG% (5th)
  • 3.7 Offensive Rebounds Per Game (5th)
  • 3.0 Estimated Wins Added (7th)
  • 90.7 Value Added (8th)
  • 10.2 Rebounds Per Game (11th)
  • 13.6 PPG (13th)
  • 105.3 Offensive Rating (15th)

Kanter has been playing very well for the Knicks this year, but he has really proven how valuable he is to this team in his absence. He adds not only production, but leadership and a spark whenever he is on the court. In the first 20 games this season, it is looking like Enes Kanter will be a cornerstone for this franchise moving forward. Kanter has resumed basketball activities today and he hopes to play Wednesday against the Heat. Knick fans are praying that he does as it is becoming clear that the Knicks need Kanter to win.

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What happened to the Knicks on Monday against the Cavs?

The Knicks were leading by 23 points at one point in the second half on Monday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was all down hill from there. The Knicks wound up losing to the Cavs 104-101 as they let up 43 fourth quarter points. The Knicks were playing great defense all night before then as they allowed 25 in the first, 13 in the second, and 23 in the third. So what changed in the fourth? Let’s take a look.

1. They let LeBron get hot

When LeBron James gets going, there is just no stopping him. Courtney Lee was playing great defense on LeBron through the first three quarters, but it was all downhill in the fourth. LeBron wound up with a double-double, which should have actually been a triple-double if it were not for Madison Square Garden taking away a rebound late. LeBron is the best in the world and when he wants to take over there is nothing that a team could do.

2. Kristaps had an off night

Kristaps Porzingis has been great so far this year, especially down the stretch when the Knicks need him most. Monday night was opposite of that. Porzingis did score 20 points, but he was 7/21 from the field and missed three key free throws late in the fourth quarter. If he hits those free throws the game may end in at least a tie and they go into overtime, then who knows what happens. Porzingis is just 22-years old and he is going to have off nights. It happens.

3. Jeff Hornacek mistakenly took out Enes Kanter

Jeff Hornacek took out Enes Kanter with about 3 minutes remaining in the game so he can put in his defensive group, but it backfired. Enes Kanter was having a great night as he finished with 20 points and 16 rebounds. Kanter was actually playing some solid defense on Monday night. There were a few times that Jae Crowder tried driving baseline on him and Kanter was able to shuffle his feet to cut him off. Kanter seemed to have his best defensive game the other night, but Hornacek did not see this. It also hurt because the Knicks gave the Cavaliers chance after chance as they were getting too many offensive rebounds. If Kanter was in there is a chance that he could have stopped some of these offensive rebounds from happening.

Even though the Knicks took the loss in this one, it is one to build off of. They already beat the Cavs once this year and they had this one in the bag before letting it slip away. They are proving that they can hang with anyone in the Eastern Conference this year. As they mature and continue to play with each other they will become better at closing out games. This is a very young team that has a lot of growing to do, but so far this year things are heading in the right direction.

New York Knicks outlook after Carmelo trade

It was reported earlier today that the New York Knicks have traded Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder. In return, the Knicks received C Enes Kanter, SF Doug McDermott and the Chicago Bulls’ 2018 Second Round Pick.

2017 Outlook

Does this make the Knicks better for the upcoming season? Heck, no. The Eastern Conference is extremely weak this year. Therefore, I gave the Knicks a slight chance of making the playoffs as the 8th seed with Carmelo on the team. However, I no give them no chance of making the playoffs.

Their starting lineup should look something like this:

PG: Ramon Sessions
SG: Courtney Lee
SF: Tim Hardaway Jr.
PF: Kristaps Porzingis
C: Enes Kanter

I do like Willy Hernangomez, but I like pairing up Porzingis with Kanter better. Ramon Sessions will most likely be the starting point guard to begin the season, but as the season goes on I think Frank Ntilikina will take over. The Knicks should finish at either 13-15 this season in the East. It will be them, the Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls fighting it out for the worst in the East.

Future Implications

For future reasons, I do actually like this trade for the Knicks. For you stubborn Knicks fans out there, get it through your head we were not bringing in that much for Melo. He is still an elite scorer, but besides that he does not do anything else well. On top of that, he is on the decline of his career and owed a ton of money.

Any first round pick the Knicks would have received from him would most likely have been in the 25-30 range of the first round. Instead, they received the Bulls’ second round pick that will be in the 31-34 range at the beginning of the second round. The Knicks were find with this pick because of the talent they received back in Enes Kanter. The Knicks were not getting a player of his caliber from any other team. They also received a decent bench player in Doug McDermott.

First let us take a look at the contracts that were exchanged. Carmelo Anthony is owed $53 million over the next two years, while Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott are owed a combined $44 million over the same span. On top of that, Enes Kanter has a player option that can opt out of. If he does opt out, the Knicks can still re-sign him and I think he will be worth less money than Carmelo would be owed. He also would be on the rise, while Melo’s talents are falling.

The Knicks can now say they have a power forward and center for their future, hopefully a point guard as well. A duo of Kristaps Porzingis and Enes Kanter down low may be one of the best front court duos in the league. Let’s take a quick look at the duos who are POSSIBLY better than them right now:

Boston Celtics: Marcus Morris, Al Horford
Cavaliers: Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson
Nuggets: Paul Millsap, Nikola Jokic
Clippers: Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan
Pelicans: Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins
Wizards: Markieff Morris, Marcin Gortat
Raptors: Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas

I think most of those are debatable besides the Clippers, Nuggets and Pelicans. Even then, Kanter and Kristaps are younger than all of them. Being able to build around something like that is key for a young team. If Frank Ntilikina pans out then they are set at point guard as well. So, now you have a Point Guard, Power Forward and Center for your future. The Knicks will likely have a top five pick this year too. They can add another young, key piece to their rebuild through the draft. You are looking at four starters who will be 26 years or younger come the 2018 NBA season.

Can this lead them to luring a superstar NBA free agent to New York? Now that Phil Jackson is out of town, I would say it is definitely possible. The Garden is the mecca of sports, so many iconic moments have happened there. Why wouldn’t an NBA star want to help bring a champion to NYC? They would be a legend in the greatest city in the world.

Over the next two years there are plenty of superstars who will be free agents. LeBron James, Chris Paul, DeMarcus Cousins, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson are a few. Can the Knicks bring one of these stars to New York? Maybe. Only time will tell. However, as a Knicks fan, I am very happy with the direction this team is headed. Carmelo will definitely be missed as he has been the only bright spot for this franchise over the last few years, but it was time to move on. I am happy he was traded to a contender and I hope he can win himself a title. I wish nothing, but the best for Carmelo. #StayMe7o

OKC Rumor Mill: Carmelo Anthony To The Thunder.

Let me start off by saying, if Sam Presti pulls this off, he is officially the best GM in basketball.

Now, I know this is highly unlikely; but who thought we would get George? My first offer would be Enes Kanter straight up. If they turned that down, go for a big hitter with Kanter, Singler, Christon and future 2nd.

If they somehow agreed, Melo would play the 4.  We would be a “small ball” starting lineup WB, Dre. PG, Melo, Adams. But we all know how billy Donovan like to stagger his stars. There is way too much potential in these lineups if this were to happen.

The number one concern on everyone’s mind “There is only one ball, how will they share?”

I know it may sound crazy, but Melo only plays BETTER when the 2/3 option on a team. See 2016 USA Olympic team. Melo is a great spot up shooter, can score post up, catch and shoot, off the dribble, etc.

Melo to OKC needs to happen; not just for fans, but for the NBA as a whole. If it does we’ll see OKC in conference finals. 2/3 seed.

NY Knicks Off-Season Outlook

We are a bit into the off-season now, but the New York Knicks still have some work to do before next season. First, lets recap what they have done so far.

  • Drafted Frank Ntilikina, Damyean Dotson & Ognjen Jaramaz
  • Fired Phil Jackson!!!!
  • Ron Baker tweets he is re-signing with the Knicks
  • Offer Tim Hardaway Jr. 4-years/$71M (Hawks can match, most likely won’t)

 

So far, very confusing. They should have fired Phil before the draft and hired a new President. This way the new President could draft who he wanted. Ron Baker signing is not official, but I do like bringing him back. Why, why, why .. Tim Hardaway 4-years/$71M!? REALLY!? He is going to be paid more than Dion Waiters, who in my opinion is a better player than Hardaway. Ugh .. typical life of a Knicks’ fan.

Anyway lets move onto what they need to do for the rest of the off-season:

  • Sign a veteran Point Guard
  • Trade Courtney Lee
  • Trade Carmelo Anthony
  • Trade Joakim Noah?

 

The first order of business for the Knicks should be to sign a veteran Point Guard. They want to find a mentor for Frank Ntilikina. Remember, he is only 18 years old! It would be a tough task for him to come in and start for the Knicks right away. The Knicks have been connected to Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo and Shelvin Mack. Reportedly, they are not looking to add any of the Point Guards for more than one-year or too a lucrative deal. Not sure if any of them will be a great mentor for Frank, but there are not many options out there. Mack has never been a big producer in any category and he may not be a starting Point Guard. Rose and Rondo have their character issues. Not sure if that is who you want mentoring your future Point Guard. Do not sign any of these players. You will find out why as you keep reading.

If the Knicks do sign Hardaway, they will have invested $191.6M between him, Courtney Lee and Joakim Noah. MIND BOGGLING! Since they will sign Hardaway, their next need must be to trade away Lee. They are both shooting guards and neither of them are worth all that money to be on the same team. Three teams I can see Lee being moved to are the Grizzlies, Thunder and Pelicans. All three can use some scoring at the Shooting Guard position. The Pelicans and Grizzlies have some cap issues and it may be too hard to make an easy trade with the Knicks for Lee. I see the Thunder being the likeliest destination for Lee. There are two trade scenarios they can explore. The first being shipping off Lee for Alex Abrines, Kyle Singler and a second round pick. Both contracts are cheaper than Lee’s and Abrines comes off the books a year before Lee would. The trade I really like for the Knicks with the Thunder would be this: Courtney Lee and Kyle O’Quinn for Enes Kanter. There have been reports the Thunder are trying to move Kanter and the Knicks are trying to move Lee and O’Quinn. Kanter is still young with some upside and is only on the books for two years. Lee is on the books for three more years and O’Quinn would be thrown in to even out the contracts.

Carmelo Anthony to the Houston Rockets. The Phoenix Suns would need to get involved as well to complete this deal. The rumors are starting to heat up and I have outlined this already in another article. You can check it out here: Carmelo Anthony to the Rockets.

Ok so yeah the Knicks are stuck with Noah. It was just a pipe dream, but no one wants that contract. Fucking Phil Jackson …

Possible Knicks Starting 5 after all of this is said and done (check out the Melo to Houston article it will make a lot of sense):

PG Eric Bledsoe
SG Tim Hardaway Jr.
SF Trevor Ariza
PF Kristaps Porzingis
C Enes Kanter

3 ways OKC can still improve roster.

After the Paul George trade and Patrick Patterson signing OKC has basically no cap left to sign any one. But they can still improve roster via trade/salary dumps to sign free agents. Here are 3 ways to do that.

1. Salary dump to Brooklyn. If OKC could trade Kanter to Brooklyn for 2/3 young players on decent contracts it would open up a lot for OKC roster wise, and free agency wise. They have re-signed Roberson now it is time to go after a PG (MCW, Mack, Lawson) or go for a big man (Sullinger, Baynes, Hawes).

2. With Celtics shopping Bradley, Crowder and Smart OKC should try and obtain them via trade for young players on smaller contracts (Celtics salary dump for Gordon Hayward) all 3 players would fill a need for the Thunder, Bradley to me would be the best for Westbrook and Co.

3. OKC has many holes they need to fill depth wise, namely backup PG/starting SG and Jamal Crawford recently became a free agent. Yes I know he’s aging and yes I know he is going to be somewhat expensive. But, he could do big things for the Thunder. Could be the Starting SG and move the ball up the court off the bench at times with how he can distribute. We all know how Donovan loves staggering minutes (see 2015-16) and it would only make it that much easier on everyone. He would make the team even more versatile in lineups (starting SG/Backup “PG”) and his scoring is what has made him 3x sixth man of the year.