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Kanter's next undertaking: Playing power forward?

Published October 25, 2012 11:20 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Jazz drafted Enes Kanter to be their center of the future. An apparent lack of height wasn't an issue when they selected him with the No. 3 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. But after Kanter a net of 30 pounds in the offseason and returned for a sophomore year with a mid-range game, Jazz fans should try this one on for size.

Is Kanter better suited to play power forward alongside Derrick Favors playing center?

In Thursday's 97-91 preseason-ending victory over Portland, Kanter put a positive punctuation mark on the exhibition campaign, finishing with 21 points and 12 rebounds in 25 minutes. He was knocking down jump shots, running the floor.

"That's what I worked on this summer, just face-up game and I lost so much weight," Kanter said.

So will the next project he undertakes be a transition to power forward?

"Maybe," he said. "I don't know."

Meanwhile against the Blazers, Favors, the presumptive power forward of the Jazz's future, was having a bang-up night in his own right: 21 points, 6 rebounds, most of them coming on opportunities born from Favors being a big interior presence.

So here's the next question: Have we been thinking about these guys in the wrong roles? And what does that mean for Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap?

It would be a subtle change for Kanter, basically changing the direction of his development and who he would defend on a given night. But with the way Favors defends the rim, it's not hard to imagine the Jazz deciding to commit to him at center.

Following the game, Tyrone Corbin said a team can certainly move forward with two post players at interchangeable positions. He pointed to the Trail Blazers, with J.J. Hickson and LaMarcus Aldridge, who each play with a blend of power forward and center skills.

"Teams you look around this league they play two big guys," Corbin said. "Depends on what their talent level is. We'll be able to do it with two big guys that are physical inside but can also go outside."

The Tribune's Kurt Kragthorpe had a good take on Kanter in Thursday's paper, including the line, "His performance has been reassuring, after he came into training camp facing more questions about his social media exploits than his basketball preparation. Instead of becoming another clown in the Kyrylo Fesenko tradition, Kanter has shown he's serious about improving."

Corbin said that all comes from his offseason work.

"[It ] is really starting to show," Corbin said. "He feels good about his body, he's running the floor, he's getting to his spots early. When he gets the ball in his area he's doing a great job of making guys pay. He's learned how to keep the ball high and finish high."

— Bill Oram




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