Enes Kanter’s exit-interview was littered with ups and downs before the Thunder’s upcoming tumultuous offseason.
Kanter’s interview, which can be viewed online, allowed Kanter to bring the media and fans along throughout his recount of his rollercoaster season.
One of those lowest points of his season could have happened after Kanter punched a chair out of frustration, breaking his arm.
Kanter recounted his emotions after first seeing his broken arm on x-ray film, saying the event left him feeling mentally numb.
“I felt like I left them alone,” Kanter said of his teammates. “But I think that I came back in pretty good shape.”
Kanter’s early-season production placed him in early contention for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award, but he was ultimately removed from the discussion after the injury.
Kanter’s somber tone would only show during the time talking about his injury, however, as he spent the majority of his time at the podium with an upbeat attitude.
Perhaps one of the most enjoyable discussions for Kanter on Wednesday was when he showed the media a blooper-reel of his promotional video campaigning for Russell Westbrook’s MVP case.
Kanter said the video took a lot of takes, but was also a lot of fun.
Kanter’s attitude and body language were paramount interests to some as the Thunder look to their first full opportunity to build a team around Russell Wesbtrook. The Thunder’s front office has a lot of decisions in the coming months about the state of the team, but none more so glaring than what to do with Enes Kanter.
Kanter, while a fan-favorite and the true definition of a team-first player, is a defensive liability on a poorly-structured contract. Kanter’s offensive ability is deserving of the current contract, but his defensive inability makes his contract hard to defend.
Although some of Kanter’s perceived defensive struggles could be attributed to a national media narrative gone serial, his inability to sufficiently defend the basket was on full display during the Thunder’s five-game series with the Rockets.
Kanter highlighted a difficulty in understanding the defensive scheme in that series because of a change in pick-and-roll coverage. The Thunder changed to a drop coverage, something he’d never done before, Kanter said
Kanter wasn’t bothered with his severe reduction in minutes, however, stating, “Sometimes you’re going to play 10 minutes, sometimes you play 30 or 40 minutes, but one thing you can always do is try and cheer for your teammates, try and give them positive energy.”
Regardless of the decisions the organization will make in the upcoming offseason, Kanter made one thing clear: He loves the state of Oklahoma.
Kanter, who Turkish family disowned him for his politic beliefs, said the whole state feels like home to him. “I love this organization, and I can’t say enough about the fans,” Kanter said. “But I can’t control it; Its not in my hands.”
Kanter’s upbeat attitude and demeanor during the exit-interview made it his statements of adoration for the fans and organization seem true, and that makes it even harder to swallow the thought of moving him to somewhere else.
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