The personality and character of Enes Kanter exploded on Saturday, as the Turkish center christened the Utah Jazz intrasquad scrimmage, pleasing the crowd at EnergySolutions Arena with his terrible dancing and overall antics.
He showed quite a bit of improvement on the basketball court, too.
Kanter made headlines for his massive weight loss and new body heading into training camp. His frame, now down to 240 pounds, also raised questions about his strength on the interior and ability to bang in the paint.
He put some of those questions to rest on Saturday. Kanter posted up and made shots. He showed much more lift and explosion than he had during his rookie season. He ran the floor for easy dunks, lending validity to the rumors of him standing out during training camp this week.
"He's really getting up and down the floor and he's added athleticism," Jazz coach Ty Corbin said. "The great thing is that he hasn't lost the power in his game with the weight he's lost. He's looked really good during camp."
Kanter's role this season is likely to stay the same, or minimally increase at best, as he still plays behind Al Jefferson. It is clear, however, that the Jazz organization is encouraged with the progress he's made this summer.
While most of the headlines center around Kanter the goofball he conducted interviews in a skimpy T-shirt to show off his muscles he's improved his game enough that the coaching staff is willing to deal with the side antics.
His jumper is smooth and his range extends to 18 feet. His added athleticism allowed him to block a Kevin Murphy shot, which ignited a fast break. And his strength of last season, his rebounding, is still prevalent.
"I feel much more comfortable than I did last year," Kanter said. "I'm more comfortable with the language. I feel like I can contribute much more than I did last season."
The white team, led by Paul Millsap, beat the blue team 62-58. Gordon Hayward led all scorers with 21 points in a winning effort. Murphy led the blue team with 18 points, including five 3-pointers.
"Kevin played well," Corbin said. "He knew what spots to be in and when to be there. That's the advantage of him playing summer league."
Odds and ends
Jefferson, Earl Watson and Mo Williams all sat out due to wear and tear. All are expected to practice on Sunday. … Camp free agents Darnell Jackson and Chris Quinn both started and played heavy minutes for their respective teams. … Attendance for the event was estimated at 6,200.