COMMENTARY | Utah Jazz center Enes Kanter still has some things to work on.
But basketball, at least right now, is not one of them.
This was particularly evident on March 1, when the short-handed Jazz thumped the Charlotte Bobcats 98-68.
Filling in for the injured Al Jefferson (sprained left ankle), Kanter collected 23 points and 22 rebounds on 10-of-12 shooting in 44 minutes of action.
My favorite Kanter stat from that game: 17. That's the number of defensive boards he grabbed. He wound up with more than the entire Bobcats team (16).
"I wasn't trying to get my career high or anything," said Kanter after the game. "I was going to try to win the game because Big Al and Paul were hurt. So I was just trying to help my team."
The second-year center tried to help his team again on March 4 against the Milwaukee Bucks. Unfortunately, the Jazz lost 109-108. But it wasn't due to a lack of effort from Kanter.
The Big Turkey gobbled up 10 rebounds and scored 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting.
He was also in the game when the Jazz erased a 10-point deficit during the fourth quarter, and his jumper with 23 seconds remaining in regulation gave the Notes a 98-96 advantage.
Kanter's per-36 numbers are now up to 16.3 points and 10.5 rebounds.
"This guy lifts every single day," said teammate Randy Foye. "He always does something to better himself. Whether if it's on the court or for his body, and it shows."
Jefferson should be back soon, which, of course, will be good for the Jazz, but hopefully his return won't mean Kanter will go back to averaging just 14 minutes per game.
He may be a goofball off the court, but when No. 0 steps on the hardwood, he is no joke.
Jared Bray, a graduate of Brigham Young University's broadcast journalism program, has followed the Utah Jazz since 2008, when he covered the team as a sports correspondent for KBYU-TV's Daily News at Noon.
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