Out of the Old World and into the Valley came a smiling Enes Kanter, Friday, a kid in the place of his dreams. Or at least the league of his dreams. The Jazz's first-round draft pick made his introductory stop Friday at Zions Bank Basketball Center. He was as advertised, 6-foot-11, 260 pounds, with the reach of a banyan. Is this the Jazz's true answer for a center? He's supposed to be. There have been so many big men that weren't. An incomplete and sometimes painful list of suitors: Luther Wright, Alan Bannister, Kosta Koufos, Goran Suton, James Donaldson, Walter Palmer, Curtis Borchardt, Mike Brown, Jarron Collins, Greg Foster, Eric Leckner, Dan O'Sullivan, Olden Polynice, Jose Ortiz and a colorful but spent Darryl Dawkins. They even drafted 7-foot-5 lodgepole Pavel Podkolzin in 2004, but immediately traded the rights to Dallas. Since Mark Eaton, the longest-lasting center was Greg Ostertag. He truly was a center, if a frustrating one. 'Tag missed layups, fouled out and dropped passes, though he did block shots. But if the clock was ticking, and the Jazz had to score, you didn't want him in the house. This, then, was the honeymoon visit for Kanter, the No. 3 pick in the draft, and Alec Burks, the No. 12 pick. Both showed up at Zions Bank Basketball Center wearing Jazz-blue ties and pleasant faces. First day of class, everyone is eager. Still, it was hard to hide the optimism the Jazz have for Kanter. He has soft hands, a mid-range shot, physicality under the hoop. He runs well and has a reputedly terrific work ethic. The Jazz already have their share of power forwards/centers that include Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson, Derrick Favors, Mehmet Okur and perhaps Francisco Elson and/or Kyrylo Fesenko. But as general manager Kevin O'Connor noted, you can't get too much size. Since the days of George Mikan, big people have ruled the realm. "He is a different kind of center than we're accustomed to having around here," said Jazz coach Ty Corbin, noting Kanter's athleticism. "He plays every play like it's the last. And he wants to get better."
Enes Kanter could be center the Utah Jazz have awaited
The Deseret News | Jun 25