Last season, Anthony Davis spent 96 percent of his time with the New Orleans Pelicans at the center position. One would assume that he’s going to do the same with the Los Angeles Lakers, but it seems as though they’re going to target a starting-caliber center in free agency.
Fresh off of the report that the Lakers are planning to pursue Brook Lopez and DeAndre Jordan in free agency, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that they will also target veteran center Enes Kanter:
Free agent center Enes Kanter is expected to receive interest from the Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics on June 30, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 26, 2019
In the absence of Jusuf Nurkic, who suffered a gruesome, season-ending leg injury in March, Kanter stepped up in a big way for the Portland Trail Blazers in the postseason. Through 16 games, Kanter averaged a playoff career-high 11.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.
In the regular season, Kanter averaged 13.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, including 3.8 offensive rebounds per game, the fifth-most offensive rebounds per game in the NBA.
However, as much as he can offer a team offensively, Kanter is one of the worst defensive centers in the league. In five of the last six seasons, Kanter has finished in the bottom-three among centers in ESPN’s Real Defensive Plus-Minus. Last season, he finished second-to last behind Willie Cauley-Stein.
If the Lakers are going to invest money at the center position this summer, it should be for someone that is elite offensively, defensively or someone that can do a little bit of both.
Kanter isn’t that; just ask Julius Randle.
Yo @EnesKanter last time you guarded me I had 45 relax bro lol— Julius Randle (@J30_RANDLE) June 26, 2019
As a backup center on a minimum contract, the Lakers could do a lot worse. For the starting spot alongside Anthony Davis, however, it would be in their best interest to stick to the targets they previously had in mind.
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