Enes Kanter had some thinly veiled shots for the New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Billy Donovan after Portland’s stunning victory.
New York Knicks fans know the best and worst of Enes Kanter as a player. At his best, he’s a physical presence on the interior that plays through pain and dominates the offensive glass. At his worst, the outspoken center is stealing headlines and causing controversy.
Tuesday night falls somewhere in the middle. Knicks fans are likely to be fuming after Kanter’s postgame comments.
"First off, I would definitely like to thank the Knicks for waiving me."
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 24, 2019
However, following the Portland Trail Blazers’ stunning comeback over the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Knicks weren’t the only team Kanter was thinking about. The Turkish center subtweeted his former head coach—Billy Donovan.
CAN play Kanter
— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) April 24, 2019
The tweet was a reference to something Donovan said to assistant coach Mo Cheeks on the bench in 2017. Kanter is a below average pick-and-roll defender and he is often taken off the court because of the mismatch. The Houston Rockets and Clint Capela exploited that weakness and that’s when Donovan was caught by the cameras saying, “Can’t play Kanter.”
P&R lob to Capela causes Billy Donovan to tell Mo Cheeks, "Can't play Kanter." pic.twitter.com/4ROFSNpFw6
— Yaya Dubin (@JADubin5) April 17, 2017
During the 2016 Western Conference Finals, Kanter saw his role diminish due to his below average defense. This is nothing new and it’s part of the reason why he was benched with the Knicks during the 2018-19 season.
With all this said, Kanter can be a very valuable player given the right role and situation. In Portland’s five-game series victory, Kanter averaged 13.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game. He filled in nicely for the injured Jusuf Nurkic and showed he can be the starting center on a successful team.
Of course, Kanter might not have had the chance to troll his former team if not for Damian Lillard’s insane buzzer beater.
— NBC Sports Northwest (@NBCSNorthwest) April 24, 2019