One of the bright spots from Utah’s 99-92 preseason loss to Portland Wednesday was the offensive display by Enes Kanter. Kanter scored on an array of post-ups, putbacks, face-up jumpers, pick&roll opportunities and even out in transition.
While he did most of his damage in the paint – he also showed impressive range shooting 2-4 on mid-range jump shots.
While Kanter has definitely shown more confidence in his shot this preseason – those who have watched him closely knew he already displayed the range and touch to be an effective mid-range jumpshooting big.
Last year – while an overwhelming majority of his shots came from the paint (75.5% of his FG Att came in the paint) he also shot a respectable 39.1% from the mid-range area.
To put that “39.1%” in perspective, let’s compare Kanter’s mid-range shooting percentage to those of some of the league’s best centers:
As you can see Kanter’s 39.1% already puts him near the top of the charts among NBA centers.
While many of the top PF’s (Love, Aldrige, Garnett, West, Nowitzki, Bosh, Lee, Ibaka) all shot between 41-51% from mid-range – notable 4’s such as Blake Griffin (35.1%), Zach Randolph (35.2%), Carlos Boozer (38.6%) and even Paul Millsap (37.3%) all shot poorer from mid-range than Kanter last season.
With teams forcing the pick&roll baseline more than ever, Kanter’s ability to pop out and consistently hit that 16-footer will be a valuable weapon for the Jazz this season. Additionally, his ability to step off the block and face his man up will give defenders another look to go with his already (at times) punishing low-post game.
Halfway through preseason, it’s clear Kanter is already Utah’s most offensively polished bigman and teams must respect his perimeter shot – something they also needed to do last season.