New York Knicks center Enes Kanter is growing frustrated with the team’s continued losing while he sits on the bench.
New York Knicks big man Enes Kanter is less worried about his defense and more worried about playing time. According to Fred Kerber of the New York Post, Kanter is frustrated with his lack of playing time while the Knicks continue to lose games. Currently, the 24-45 Knickerbockers have lost nine games in a row, and have won just once since Kristaps Porzingis’ season-ending knee injury.
“I’m frustrated by losing, for sure. But I came here to win games. I didn’t come here to get a good lottery pick. I came here to win games and make the playoffs. So games like this are just weird. They make me think, ‘Why am I sitting?’ It’s weird, but we’ve got 14 games left and I’ll just try to do my best for 14 games.”
Kanter continues to sit in the fourth quarter of games in favor of backup center Kyle O’Quinn and has played even more sparingly in the second half of games during this latest losing streak. While Kanter is worried about tanking, the fact is that O’Quinn is a veteran in his walk year.
It’s tough because, like, they are telling us we are not tanking so we are still going out there to win games … I don’t care if we are the last in the league or the first in the league, my mindset is go out there and just play as hard as I can. Games like this are just weird for me.”
Kanter’s motives seem pure, but his lack of playing time might have less to do with the Knicks tanking than his own defensive deficiencies.
While he is averaging a double-double on the year (14.1 PPG, 10.8 RPG) and is an offensive-rebounding wunderkind, Kanter is a notoriously bad defender. Kyle O’Quinn was playing in favor of Kanter late in games earlier in the year or the Knicks were going small with Porzingis in the middle to finish games.
While Kanter’s commitment to winning and team should be lauded, he would be better served examining more closely why he is not playing down the stretch of games.
Defense wins games, and he doesn’t play much.
These days the Knicks don’t win much either.