Enes Kanter focusing on defense alongside new Celtics teammates
Enes Kanter will try to do undo his reputation as a poor defender in this new venture with the Boston Celtics, hoping he now has the right personnel and the right system alongside him to help him become a better one. The new addition noted it’ll take more than just his own effort to develop into a more capable defender:
“Defense is all about team effort,” Kanter told Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald after the opening practice of training camp on Tuesday.
The Turkish big man noted he made strides as a defender during his time with the Portland Trail Blazers, saying the players around him were already good defenders and that the system helped him out as well, resulting in a trip to the Western Conference Finals. Yet Kanter was completely torn apart in that series, unable to defend the pick-and-roll attack of a Kevin Durant-less Golden State Warriors, who swept the Blazers on their way to the NBA Finals.
Kanter has faith in his team having the right punch of firepower, but says the team will need to defend just as well to make a dent in the East:
“We know that we’re going to be able to score,” he said. “I mean, everybody can score.
“But I think for us the important thing is just defense, and defense is all about trust and communication. We just had our first practice today, and I felt like we’ve been together for a long time, because we were communicating. We were trusting each other, and we were having fun. For me, it was really a great first day of practice.”
The loss of Al Horford is significant at both ends of the floor, considering not only his ability to make plays on the offensive end, but also the stonewall defense he provided every game. Kanter isn’t expected to provide that same production, but a little improvement protecting the rim could turn the Celtics into a much better bet in the Eastern Conference.