Enes Kanter is projected to be a top five pick in this year’s NBA draft. Despite being projected so high, Kanter is a bit of an unknown player. This results from the NCAA ruling Kanter ineligible this past year – while scouts have seen him before, it’s been a year since he has played organized basketball. He happens to be a high-potential prospect: a 6-11 center with a sweet jumper and great rebounding ability. Many scouts have compared him to Al Horford, and he seems a lot like him based on the reports. However, unlike Horford, he will not be out of position at center, a position where many teams in the league lack a productive player.
Among those teams, of course, is our Philadelphia 76ers.
Of course, Kanter will not be available at number 16, where the 76ers pick, so they may have to trade up to get this Turkish star. So can the Sixers trade up and bring Kanter to Philadelphia? As I’ll discuss, the potential for a trade is there.
How about the Minnesota Timberwolves? They have expressed interest in trading down, and have a huge need at the 2 or 3 position. In 2011 they had one of the worst defenses in the league. Free agents aren’t looking to move to Minneapolis for the winter, so trading is their best chance to attract top players to their team.
I think Andre Iguodala fits Minnesota’s needs perfectly. He has been rumored to be on the block this off season and is a stellar defender, one of the best in the league. He plays the 2/3 position, and with Kevin Love and (apparently) Ricky Rubio in the fold, the team would have a very solid foundation.
So what would the trade have to be that brings the pick to the 76ers? I would be willing to give up Iguodala and then give Sota’ a choice of either this years first round pick or next years. The rationale behind taking next year’s pick would be that the Timberwolves may think the 76ers will be worse without Dre'; that way, they would receive a better pick. They could take this year’s pick because they would know they are getting the 16th pick and, combined with their 20th selection, could get two role players in a role player filled draft.
So assuming that Minnesota would do the trade, obviously I think Enes Kanter would make sense for the team. Another option would be to draft possible Elton Brand successor Derrick Williams, although Williams may be a tweener player like Thad Young, and there is really only room for one tweener per team.
That said, let’s stick with the hypothetical of drafting the Turkish star Kanter.
Kanter is, as previously said, a six eleven center from Turkey NBAdraft.net says Kanter “Dominated the 2009 European U18 championships like not even Ricky Rubio could.” That domination included averaging 18.6 points and 16.4 rebounds. Can you imagine averaging 16.4 rebounds, even if you are much better than the competition?
But that event is not what makes Kanter so well known. The performance that really put him in the public eye was his thirty four point, thirteen rebound game at the Nike Hoops Summit. At this event he showcased his skills, hitting jumpers, powering through for dunks, and nice spinning layups. He also of course was able to get position inside, accounting for his rebounds in the game. On top of all this, he did it against the USA squad, meaning he was facing at least competent competition. So that performance really got Kanter on the NBA radar.
It has also been reported that his measurements and combine numbers have suppressed any doubt that Kanter is athletic and big enough to be an NBA center.
The questions about Kanter then lie in his knees. Numerous people have expressed that his knees may be iffy, and if that is true, then this idea of trading up to get Enes Kanter should be trashed immediately. Not that I don’t still think he could be a good player, but look at the risky big men who have been picked high. You get guys like Greg Oden and Sam Bowie, who was picked over MJ. They almost always turn out hurt. Of course, these comments are just rumors and if Kanter checks out he should be picked.
It also seems that another option of giving Iggy and the 16th pick to Cleveland for the 4th pick will not work, as Cleveland hasn’t expressed interest in trading and Kanter may already be taken by the Jazz or someone who trades with the Timberwolves, such as the Pacers.
So, looking at the options, it seems as though Rod Thorn would be wise to try to trade up and nab the number two pick in this year’s draft. It would fill a need and help the team rebuild quicker.