When Enes Kanter decided to join the Boston Celtics, he never thought that he'd be shooting 3-pointers at this stage of his career. However, when general manager Danny Ainge told him that he will be transformed into a big man who can stretch the floor, he's been working on becoming one.
In an interview with The Athletic's Jared Weiss, Kanter said that Ainge told him and fellow Celtics newcomer Kemba Walker that they need to work on their 3-point shooting.
“At media day, Danny Ainge leaned over to me and Kemba and said, ‘You know, that 3-point line ain’t just for decoration,’”
Kanter has taken the challenge seriously. He's been working out in Boston and New York over the past couple of weeks. The Turkish big man said that his game won't change that much, but he also acknowledged the necessity to evolve as a player.
“I’m still a banger and back-to-the-basket player who rebounds and sets screens and everything. But as the league changes a lot, you’ve got to be able to change with the league. So I’ve been working on my shot since the playoffs was over.”
The 2018-19 season is still at least two months away, meaning Kanter will still have an ample amount of time to work on his shooting, and while it's still uncertain if his hard work will pay off on the court, his confidence about his new-found playing style is at an all-time high.
“The most important thing about shooting the ball is confidence. I remember after I left New York and signed with Portland, coach just told me to shoot and that makes me more comfortable and confident. Especially when the players like Dame (Lillard) and C.J. (McCollum) say, ‘Man, don’t worry about it, we want you to shoot.’”
The Celtics will have the same approach towards Kanter. He's not expected to be a volume 3-point shooter, but the team wants him to be reliable and consistent from behind the arc.
And if Kanter can make those shots, the Celtics will be a tough team to beat.