Enes Kanter wants to play basketball again. Not hoops on an amateur level, but basketball on his terms. Poor, poor pitiful him. Right?
(Come on. Give the guy a break. He deserves better than us, even including your buddy that was the first guard off the bench at Pepperdine back in 2003.)
For a lot of us, the chains of a 9-to-5 gig or physical hindrances act as the biggest mitigating factor in stopping us from enjoying a night-long, full-court basketball run. It's the same reason why a lot of us will never be able to spin a 500-horsepower speed machine around a track worthy of an engine made for its turns. We don't have the motor, the access to the track, nor the time to make it work.
But what if you're the engine? What if you're a nearly 7-foot stud who can shoot out to 25 feet, nail all the corners, and your motor is good enough to be taken third overall in the NBA draft? Like Kanter. Who can't seem to catch a break.
If you know absolutely nothing about NCAA hoops -- and I can't blame you -- it's worth pointing out that Kanter missed the entire 2010-11 season (scheduled to be spent with Kentucky) after it turned out he'd been paid a sportswriter-level amount to play with a Turkish team years earlier. And if you know absolutely nothing about the NBA -- and I can't blame you -- you know that there is a lockout in place, and the entire 2011-12 season is in jeopardy.
For the 19-year-old Kanter, this is a bit of a concern. He's heading into his second straight season of doing nothing but playing against unranked amateurs.
And he's, um, concerned. From the Deseret News:
"It's easy for me to say that I am the unluckiest guy ever. I couldn't play in college, and right now there is the lockout. The only thing I can do is just wait."
"I haven't played in almost two years and it's hard within that time to go from not playing to being ready for games," Kanter added.
It's not too hard to roll a ball out and tell the big guy to quit kvetchin'. But this isn't as simple as an itch that needs to be scratched. This is a guy who needs to play basketball at a level he deserves. We wouldn't yell at Raef LaFrentz for missing most of the 1998-99 season due to a lockout and then tearing his ACL 12 games into that season. And, let's face it, Enes Kanter is pretty much Raef LaFrentz. And we dig the games of both Enes Kanter and Raef LaFrentz. Stop yelling at both of them!
Start tossing up a jump ball between the two of them, NBA.