Enes Kanter for Sixth Man of the Year? Early Predictions
By Addam Francisco
Enes Kanter is a very good offensive player in the NBA and everyone has to know that by now, but it seems like no one wants to put him in the elite category of the leagues top three big men. Yes, Enes has his defensive struggles but just like Andre Roberson, his upside is huge, he is young.
Kanter has only been in the league for four years, starting his fifth here in about a week. He is only 23 years old and in just 26 games for the Thunder last year, he recorded 18 double-doubles. He averaged 18.7 points and 11 rebounds per contest with the Thunder in 2014-2015. Not to mention, of those 11 rebounds, seven were offensive. He has an uncanny knack for the ball on the offensive end and no one seems to have an answer for him. Those are all stats that he earned while trying to get used to playing with the Thunder players and getting used to the new offense that's completely different than his former team (Utah Jazz) where he just didn't flourish like he could have because the offense clearly wasn't big man friendly.
So far this preseason, Kanter averages 14.8 points and eight rebounds per game in just 22 minutes of play. Which means per 36 minutes he would average to be 23.9 points and 13 rebounds, those are for sure Sixth Man of the Year numbers and honestly would have him in the talk for the best big man in the game. He isn't flashy, he scores quietly and often kills two birds with one stone by getting the offensive rebound and the put back.
In the preseason game against Dallas, he was able to really get into his rhythm offensively, and recorded 17 points and 11 rebounds in 20 minutes. Kevin Durant seems to notice his worth and finds his stat lines.
The sixth man award usually seems to go to a guard or a small forward the majority of the time. A power forward or a center has only won the award five times in 33 years. Kevin McHale (1984, 1985), Bill Walton (1986), Roy Tarply (1988) and Cliff Robinson (1993). Also, to Kanter's benefit the sixth man award usually goes to an offensive minded player that gives a quick boost off the bench. There's absolutely no doubt here, if Enes Kanter can put these types of numbers up all season with no major injuries, this will for sure qualify him as a contender for the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year.