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David Fizdale says Enes Kanter is part of a dying breed, calls him a top-5 back-to-the-basket player

David Fizdale, Enes Kanter, Knicks

New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale had some high praise for starting center Enes Kanter, who had his first full season as a starter under former coach Jeff Hornacek in 2017-18. Kanter responded with a solid double-double for the season with 14.1 points and 11 rebounds per game while registering career-highs in field goal percentage (59.2 percent) and free-throw percentage (84.8 percent).

Enes Kanter is in a contract year and could be relied upon more heavily with the absence of Kristaps Porzingis as the team’s leading scorer, but Fizdale noted he won’t change a thing about what Kanter does on the floor.

“He’s a bruiser, he’s a banger. I think he’s starting to show he’s a better defender than everybody try to label him as,” said Davis Fizdale. “…He’s doing a heck of a job for us defensively and obviously on the glass, he’s a terror.

Most teams don’t have a luxury of a low-post threat like that. Some people may disagree with me, I think he’s a top-5 back-to-the-basket power player. I just don’t see that anymore. Those are a dying breed and we actually have one.”

Kanter might not have the steals or blocks in his resume to make him a visible defensive threat, but his length at 6-foot-11, along with a robust frame, make for a decent defender, despite his lack of athleticism.

The Turkish international is by no way entering the Defensive Player of the Year conversation, but his defense isn’t as lackluster as some make it to be. While he can certainly be abused on the perimeter, Kanter does a fair job at defending the paint, even with his lack of blocked shots.

Offensively, Kanter’s body and affinity to pound the glass gives him an edge for easy buckets, while his ability to hit the mid-range jumper makes him more than a one-trick pony as one of the last true centers in this league.