The Portland Trail Blazers just took another step forward by bolstering their front line ahead of the NBA All-Star break. While the Blazers have a strong starting center in Jusuf Nurkic, they added a new face in Enes Kanter to provide depth and some additional bench scoring as well. The addition of Kanter comes after the former New York Knicks big man had drawn plenty of interesting on the open market.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the news of Kanter’s signing with the Blazers and also cited the level of interest in the big man. According to Wojnarowski, the Los Angeles Lakers were one of the multiple teams who had interest in him, but Kanter chose to go to Portland when all was said and done.
Following the deal, the Trail Blazers boast an impressive depth chart with talent spread across both the starting five and the second unit. Let’s take a look at the team’s roster and updated depth chart after the signing.
Portland Trail Blazers Roster & Depth Chart With Enes Kanter
|Center||Jusuf Nurkic||Enes Kanter||Meyers Leonard|
|Power Forward||Al-Farouq Aminu||Zach Collins||Skall Labissiere|
|Small Forward||Maurice Harkless||Rodney Hood||Jake Layman|
|Shooting Guard||C.J. McCollum||Evan Turner||Gary Trent/Anfernee Simmons|
|Point Guard||Damian Lillard||Seth Curry|
It’s unclear how much playing time Kanter will receive, but he should be able to carve out a decent chunk. Between Leonard, Collins and a few others, there will likely be plenty of opportunities for the 26-year-old to see court time.
Over 44 games with the Knicks this season, Kanter averaged 14.0 points and 10.5 rebounds while shooting 53.6 percent from the field. He fell out of the rotation after head coach David Fizdale opted to go with younger players as the team began to rebuild for the future. This is what led to Kanter’s buyout and now gives the Trail Blazers a great addition to the roster.
Blazers’ Outlook After Enes Kanter Signing
The Trail Blazers are wrapping up their final stretch before the break and sit with a 33-23 record entering Wednesday night. This leaves them in the No. 4 spot of the log-jammed Western Conference, tied with the Houston Rockets. They’re currently four games back of the Oklahoma City Thunder for the No. 3 spot, though, and only three games separate the Blazers/Rockets from the current No. 9 seed.
The homestretch of the 2018-19 season will be crucial with Portland drawing plenty of tough matchups. The addition of Kanter helps to ease the burden inside against some of the other talented big men in the West such as DeMarcus Cousins, Nikola Jokic, Anthony Davis, Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns, Steven Adams, and others.