Enes Kanter growing frustrated due to Knicks tanking
Enes Kanter hates two things above all — tanking and sitting. Thus far, the New York Knicks have done both, as the 6-foot-11 center has seen a steep decline in his minutes since after the All-Star break.
Head coach Jeff Hornacek had emphasized making use of the team’s youth throughout the remainder of the season, but Kanter isn’t willing to take the stockpile of losses along with the dwindling time on the court.
“I’m frustrated by losing, for sure. But I came here to win games. I didn’t come here to get a good lottery pick,” Kanter, the league’s fourth-best offensive rebounder told Fred Kerber of The New York Post on Wednesday. “I came here to win games and make the playoffs. So games like this are just weird. They make me think, ‘Why am I sitting?’ It’s weird, but we’ve got 14 games left and I’ll just try to do my best for 14 games.”
Despite getting a big opportunity to start the season as the undisputed starting center of the team, Kanter is now seeing the business side of the NBA, where teams strategically plan ways to mask their goal of losing as many possible games to ensure the best possible selection during the NBA Draft Lottery.
“It’s tough because, like, they are telling us we are not tanking so we are still going out there to win games,” said Kanter, who is averaging a double-double with 14.1 points and a team-best 11.7 rebounds per game. “I don’t care if we are the last in the league or the first in the league, my mindset is go out there and just play as hard as I can. Games like this are just weird for me.”
The Knicks fell 110-97 to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday, as Kanter logged only 21 minutes on the court, scoring three points and hauling in 15 rebounds.
With only 14 games to go, it’s likely the Knicks continue this tanking trend, getting closer to meriting close to an eighth place in the lottery standings if they lose to the Philadelphia 76ers tonight, if the Chicago Bulls can beat the Memphis Grizzlies, who have lost a horrid 18 games in a row.