This week will be the final profiles of lottery picks. Starting next week, Mo and I will profile potential second round picks. I will also list the top 20 players that I think will be most successful. My top six are:
#1 Kyrie Irving – I see no reason to disagree with the majority. Point guard is an important offensive position and Irving is the best in this or next year’s draft.
#2 Derrick Williams – I think he can be an NBA SF.
#3 Enes Kanter – See below.
#4 Jonas Valanciunas – I would consider picking Valanciunas over Kanter, drafting him on the condition that he works with a Cavs provided strength coach and shooting coach. In a year, he can come from Europe with 15 lbs of added muscle and a reliable 18 footer.
#5 Brandon Knight –He’ll eventually be a quality PG in the NBA.
#6 Alec Burks – He’s a great scorer and rebounder with good size and athleticism for a shooting guard. PER, offensive rating, on-court / off-court numbers are all impressive and he doesn’t turn 20 until July. I like that he was the #33 ranked SG in the class of 2009, now he’s a lottery pick. I give extra credit for players with late growth spurts who are rapidly improving. With improved shooting, he should be excellent.
Now, for my #3. Kanter is meeting with the Cavs this week and is a likely pick at #4.
Height: 6’ 11.25”
Weight: 259 lbs
Position: PF / C
Age: Turned 19 in May
Summary: Enes Kanter is the mystery of the high lottery. He was a basketball prodigy, dominating Europe’s youth tournaments and playing in the Euroleague as a 16 year old. Due to NCAA eligibility problems, he has not played competitively in over a year. He is projected as a top 4 pick.
Basketball Bio: Kanter first made his name in European youth tourneys. At age 16, his 15 rebounds per game earned him first team all tournament at the 2008 European U18 championship. The next year he dominated; averaging 18.6 points and 16.4 rebounds while winning MVP and leading Turkey to 3rd place. At 16, he was signed by Turkish basketball power, Fenerbache Ulker, and played in 11 professional games, including 4 in the Euroleague. This brief professional stint proved more critical to Kanter’s future than the 2 ppg and 1.5 rpg would indicate. Kanter turned down large European contracts and decided to move to the United States to play college basketball. He enrolled at Stoneridge Prep in California, playing one year of high school. He committed to play at Kentucky, but was ruled ineligible by the NCAA due to his brief professional play. He has spent the last year practicing and training with the Kentucky basketball team.
Skill Overview: Kanter has the size to play power forward and center in the NBA. He measured as the second tallest player at the combine and was in great shape, weighing 259 lbs with only 5.9% body fat. Possessing the size & strength to match up with most NBA centers, he plays physically in the low post and is not afraid of contact. He is a strong competitor, staying active on the boards and defensively. His activity level, positioning, and great hands make him a dominant rebounder. Kanter has exhibited a range of offensive talents; displaying solid footwork and finishing moves in the post, while also demonstrating shooting range out to the college three. Kanter has a good attitude and works hard at improving his game.
Kanter is an average athlete. Of the seven players over 6’10” at the NBA combine, Kanter had the second lowest vertical jumping and wingspan. Of the “tall” players, he was 2nd in the speed drill and 3rd and 4th in agility drills. Kanter has been described as “non-explosive”, and the combine athletic tests support that. Kanter’s biggest negative may be his limited history of competitive basketball, with almost no experience against players older than 18. The game is about to get a lot faster; will Kanter’s rebounding and offensive games thrive against players as big and athletic as him? Will his defensive rotations look as impressive when the guards and ball are moving at blazing speed? No one can definitively answer these questions.
Additional Info: The other forum where Kanter impressed was the Nike Hoop Summit in April 2010. At this annual high school all-star game, Kanter nearly lead the internationals to victory over a United States team featuring Kyrie Irving, Brandon Knight, Jared Sullinger, and Harrison Barnes. Kanter scored 34points, a new event record, and grabbed 13 rebounds in 24 minutes. He was great on the offensive glass and scored with post moves, jump shots, fast breaks finishes, and even on drives. Very impressive, but it was a high school all-star game, so it’s hard to tell how impressive. The US front line was not outstanding; consisting of Sullinger, Patric Young (3.4 ppg & 3.8 rpg at Florida State this year), Leonard Myers (2.1 ppg and 1.3 rpg at Illinois), and Terrence Jones (more SF than PF). Defensive rebounding wasn’t a priority in the game, as each team collected 17 offensive boards. Almost half the missed shots were rebounded by the offense.
Kanter is considered a good shooter, however again there isn’t a lot of actual data supporting this. High school highlights show him hitting high school three’s, but how many were missed? That info isn’t readily available. He shoots well during a workout, but what about with an NBA defender rapidly closing on him? Combine shooting tests were a mixed bag. Of the 16 players that performed the big men drills, he was in the top third in two drills and the bottom third in two. He was 5 of 12 for the timed shooting drill of 35 seconds shooting 15 – 18’ jumpers.
As an offensively skilled big man; comparisons include Al Horford, Kevin Love, or Carlos Boozer, and I won’t debate this. I have him rated #3 primarily because people who are a lot smarter than me have him rated highly. When he has played, he has been dominant against his age group. Hopefully the potential shown in the opportunities available to him will transfer to the NBA, both offensively and defensively.
Tags: Draft Profiles