The lottery is over and draft speculation is officially in high gear. As the potential draftees work out for NBA scouts and executives in Chicago, the most intense attention is being paid to Kentucky’s own man of mystery, Enes Kanter. Zac Jackson from Fox Sports Ohio has compiled a detailed look into Enes’ situation for all the Cavaliers fans who are hoping to secure a package deal with Duke’s Kyrie Irving and Enes at picks 1 and 4, respectively.
As intriguing as Enes is for his skills and the whispers of his potential, he’s also scaring some people around the draft for his refusal to engage in any live drills. As Jonathan Givony from DraftExpress.com said, “Anybody can be impressive against chairs”. Enes hasn’t played in a competitive game since the Nike World Hoop Summit two years ago in which he broke Dirk’s scoring record with 34 points. He paired that with 13 rebounds in a dominant performance over Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger, a surefire top five pick had he decided to come out. However, since that impressive performance, Enes hasn’t gone against any top talent in competition open to the media or scouts.
Despite the mystery surrounding him, most every mock draft has him being taken in the top five of June’s NBA draft. Enes has publicly stated that he would most enjoy playing for Minnesota, Cleveland or Washington and he listed Washington as his ideal top choice. Washington’s pick at six may be a significant drop according to most pre-draft projections, but his potential pairing with John Wall is something that UK fans would love to see.
In Washington, Enes would be paired with an elite, pass-first point guard in John Wall and the explosive scoring of both Nick Young and Jordan Crawford on the wings. He would be able to fit into the system well and provide a talented post presence for a Wizards team that was severely lacking one last season.
In Cleveland, a potential partnership with Kyrie Irving is something that may irk UK fans due to his Duke affiliations, but would provide a talented rookie tandem unlike any other in the league. The Cavs have a talented playmaker in J.J. Hickson who has been waiting for some teammates to help carry the offensive load and the combination of Irving and Kanter would only allow him to flourish as a player.
In Minnesota, he would have a chance to play with the best pure rebounder in the NBA, Kevin Love, as well as the worst player in the league in Johnny Flynn. I really don’t want him to go to Minnesota. Unless Ricky Rubio comes to America and is better than his current play indicates he is, then Minnesota might as well be a black hole for good basketball. I’m fine with Derrick Williams getting sucked into that. Leave Enes alone.
Hopefully, Enes ends up in a situation in which he’s happy and comfortable. The reports coming out of Chicago have said that Enes has been very engaging in the interview portion and seems like a genuinely good guy. This is something that UK fans have known all along, but it’s good to see him enter the league without the absurdly ridiculous ‘scandal’ stigma following him from UK.
All the best, Enes! Can’t wait to see you throwing down lobs from John Wall in the near future.