Enes Kanter, C, Portland Trailblazers
Kanter has had no contact with the Mavs partly because he’s helping the Trailblazers in the playoffs. When the off season does come, I’d be interested to see if the Mavs are interested in a center who can come in and grab rebounds.
Kanter could very easily return to Portland, however, Nurkic will return to the team this off season. Kanter is not a better center than Nurkic, but he’s deserving of a starting role in the right system. Even though Portland currently has him to grab rebounds and provide points in the paint, his role will diminish when Nurkic returns.
Something the Mavs needed last season was rebounding and rim protection. Deandre Jordan was supposed to be the guy who filled that void. While he grabbed rebounds, he didn’t display consistency nor did he display the rim protection the Mavs were hoping. This was why he was disposable in the Porzingis trade.
Kanter isn’t the rim protector that Jordan is, but he does grab rebounds at a similar rate. Fortunately for Kanter, his former teammate, Kristaps Porzingis, happens to be a tremendous shot blocker. If Porzingis can provide the shot blocking, why can’t Kanter provide the rebounding.
Kanter is fantastic for team chemistry and he’s only 26 years old. He’s averaged at least 10 points the last 5 seasons. Even though he’s been on a lot of teams, he’s been productive no matter the location.
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In this day of basketball, it’s very easy for some players to play for stats. Kanter could look like that type of player on the box score, but his win shares prove he helps his team win, especially on offense. For example, on the 2015 Thunder team that lost to the Warriors in the Western Conference finals, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook each accounted for 14 win shares a piece. Kanter accounted for 8, the third highest on the team.
That trend holds true for Kanter after his time in New York and now in Portland. Kanter provides legitimate post presence that can wreak havoc for teams that love running small ball lineups. If the Mavs show an interest, Kanter will be a relatively inexpensive commodity. The cheaper you can fill your starting lineup, the better depth you can have.
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These are 5 free agents I’ll be discussing this week. I will be discussing another 5 free agents next week with a mix of linked names and guys like Bojan Bogdanovic, who if the Mavs sign, could be a splash for the organization.