Though he may not have been the team’s first option this offseason, newly acquired center Enes Kanter could prove to be quite the asset for the Boston Celtics in 2019, both on and off the court.
When the Boston Celtics introduced Enes Kanter during last Wednesday’s presser, fans immediately experienced his fun-loving, charismatic personality. Upon being asked why he chose to wear the number 11 this season, he explained that it was an old number of his.
He then proceeded to steal the show by slipping in a sly comment that directly trolled the former holder of said jersey number.
This, of course, is a fun jab at Kyrie Irving’s Nike advertisement from last season. The spot filmed Irving and his father playing one-on-one at the TD Garden while Irving spoke of his relationship with his father throughout the years.
He went on to finish the advertisement with: “He’s the reason why I wear number eleven, and I want to be the reason no one else will.”
This quote was meant to instill a sense of hope in fans that Irving would be committed to the Boston Celtics long-term, with the goal of one day having his jersey up in the rafters along with many other Beantown legends.
However, after the team’s underwhelming second round exit to the Milwaukee Bucks, Irving decided two-years was long enough in Boston and opted to sign with Atlantic Division rival, the Brooklyn Nets. Though the departure of Irving was not necessarily a happy event, Kanter made it a point to shed a comedic light upon the salty situation which, in fact, is something fans should be excited about.
Last season, it appeared the Boston Celtics were more of a reality television series than a legitimate NBA title contender. From Irving’s criticism of the team’s young players to Terry Rozier ripping the organization’s efforts at his end of season presser, it was evident drama followed the Celtics like flies to fruit.
Now, with many of these volatile personalities gone, the culture within this Celtics organization looks to be headed in a more fun and positive direction.
Enes Kanter is a prime reason as to why.
Everywhere he’s gone, Kanter has developed great relationships with his teammates and has been a favorite amongst each team’s fanbase. From his spat with Devin Booker last season to his on court, face-to-face chirping match with LeBron James in defense of then-rookie teammate Frank Ntilikina, Kanter has shown he is more than willing to come to stand up for both his team as well as his teammates without a moments hesitation.
Outside of the personality traits Kanter will be bringing to Boston, his on court skills will also be of much help for the franchise during the upcoming season. For the first time in, quite possibly, his entire career, Kanter will find himself on a roster relatively void of big man depth.
Because of this, the 27-year-old could find himself logging a career year in minutes which, as the statistics show us, should make the center that much more productive on the hardwood. Per 36 minutes, Kanter’s career averages skyrocket to an impressive 19.3 points and 12.3 rebounds per game on 54% shooting from the field. Anywhere close to these numbers would be a fantastic contribution for this Celtics team, specifically in the rebounding department.
His presence should easily improve the team’s lackluster performance on the boards as well as with second chance opportunities, as Kanter has finished within the top-3 in offensive rebounding in each of the past five seasons.
While talent is one of the most important attributes a franchise can have when attempting to compete, a positive team culture is almost as important. Luckily for the Celtics, Kanter helps in both these areas.
Though he may not have been the player fans were longing for this offseason, by season’s end Enes Kanter should prove to be a fantastic addition to the organization, both on the court and in the locker room.