By Suave Francisco
When Serge Ibaka was drafted in 2008 by the Oklahoma City Thunder, he was expected to be a physical big in the post who could defend, and hold his own on the offensive end. He didn't disappoint for the first six years of his career, as he was known as one of the most physical players in the game and an enforcer in the paint alongside Kendrick Perkins.
It wasn't until the 2014-2015 season that things started to change. See... Serge started playing a more European-style type of game. Kind of like Dirk Nowitzki in a way. Don't get me wrong, his shot-blocking ability is still alive and well but there's been an obvious drop off in aggressiveness on the offensive end.
During that dreadful 2014-2015 season, there was a shining light. Acquiring Enes Kanter may have been the best thing that happened all season. Enes being 22 at the time, was younger and in the wrong offense when he played with the Utah Jazz. It wasn't until he was traded to Oklahoma City that he really came into his own. To be honest, he was everything Ibaka used to be offensively, but definitely not defensively. That was his weakness for sure. At times, he appeared completely unaware of everything defense...and I mean literally everything. He didn't even look like he knew where he was on the court or who he was guarding. However, his offensive game was so advance that Sam Presti and company had no choice but to sign him to a massive 4-year contract.
This season, Kanter has stepped up the defense. He isn't a lockdown defender in the paint by any means, but at the same time, it's not deplorable like it was in the past. That's improvement, and considering he's only 23 years old, he could be the next big thing in Oklahoma City and that's clearly what the management thinks as well by spending all this money on him. Other than Kanter being in the running for 6th Man of the Year, this year he's averaged 12.8 points and 8.1 rebounds per game with very inconsistent playing time.
Serge's numbers are about the same actually, averaging 12.7 points and 6.8 rebounds this year, but considering the fact that his game is trending downward right now, mixed with Kanter playing extremely well at a very young age makes people question... Should Enes start over Serge?