Enes Kanter Has Brought Something To New York Nobody Expected
Want to know what makes an athlete a fan favorite in New York? Want to know the definition of makeup in sports terms?
Look at Enes Kanter as your answer. He has made a good impression as a Knick with his play. New Yorkers like nothing better than their athletes to work hard and give everything they got, and he has done that in his short time as a Knick. Not only that, but he has been well-liked by his teammates for the way he goes about his business.
Not bad for a player that was known as a spare part in return for Carmelo Anthony. That’s a credit to first-year Knicks general manager Scott Perry for finding something in Kanter that he thought he could win with. It was clear he had something in store to get something for Anthony rather than give away his prized player for nothing. He thought he could get the rugged player, and he got his man through persistence.
Enes Kanter Has Been Decent On D – A Big Step Up For Him
Kanter has been a surprisingly solid defensive player for the Knicks. He averages 6.5 defensive rebounds per game, and he averages 10.5 rebounds per game. He also had six blocks and eight steals in this young season. With the way he has played defensively, it’s been refreshing to watch. The Knicks have not played defense with this intensity since Jeff Van Gundy quit on them as head coach in 2001. Watching Kanter is a throwback to what Knicks fans used to see in the 90s when the Knicks were tough.
His offense has been efficient, too. He averages 14 points per game. He and Kristaps Porzingis click well when they work together on offense. The Knicks did not expect much from him defensively, but have been at least pleased. They thought he could be a good player on offense, but his defense has been a bonus for them.
But it’s been the intangibles that made Kanter a favorite in the locker room and with the Knicks fanbase. He is a player that leads by example, and he steps up for his teammates.
Kanter showed what a good teammate he was by standing up for Knicks rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina several times this week when LeBron James was mocking him.
It started when the Cavaliers star indirectly rip then-Knicks president Phil Jackson for suggesting Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. should have been drafted as a Knick, and Kanter said his team likes his draft pick on Twitter. But the action began Monday night when Kanter and James got into it during the Knicks’ 104-101 loss to the Cavaliers after Ntilikina shoved James for throwing down a dunk. They both received technicals, and it carried over in the postgame presser when Kanter mentioned James’ days of disrespecting the Knicks is over, and he mentioned he did not care if James was a king, queen or princess for emphasis. (See Post-Game Interview Below)
James laughed it off in his postgame presser, but then being the passive-aggressive person he is, he decided to take one last shot at Kanter by saying he’s the “[King] of NY” on Instagram Tuesday. Kanter fired back again by saying Porzingis is the King of New York.
The new Knick may have taken it too far to the point he was acting childish. But it does not matter. He had to make a point. The days of the Knicks being pushed around is over. The days of guys playing for themselves is over. It’s the type of attitude that can build a team together and have the players play for each other, which was never the case with the Knicks for a long time.
A Team Who Has Each Other’s Back
Porzingis and Ntilikina appreciated what Kanter did. This goes a long way when it comes to earning respect in the locker room. That will rub off on other teammates on the Knicks. It’s the type of leadership that was lacking for a long time with the Knicks.
The fans like this. After mercenaries looking at playing the Knicks as a job for a long time, they had to be proud of Kanter for having pride of being a Knick. It’s been forever anyone can say that.
The Knicks are off to a fine start, and most importantly. There’s something different about this team that should make Knicks fans think maybe this team is good enough to sustain it.
It starts and ends with Kanter. He is the heartbeat of the team with his play and his leadership. He has changed the culture of the team with his play and his intangibles.
If the Knicks make the playoffs this year, look back to the Anthony trade that netted Kanter.