A sluggish loss by the Portland Trail Blazers to the Detroit Pistons on Saturday masked a solid performance by Enes Kanter, who has replaced the injured Jusuf Nurkic in the starting lineup. Kanter notched a double-double with 20 points and 15 rebounds. Sean Highkin of Bleacher Report weighs the options the Blazers have to fill the Nurkic-sized hole in the paint as the team heads towards the playoffs. Highkin looks at the possibilities both Kanter and second-year big man Zach Collins pose, as well as Meyers Leonard.
Enes Kanter, who signed in February after completing a buyout with the New York Knicks, will likely start at center. He can score efficiently, but he’s a known defensive liability and not nearly as strong a passer as Nurkic.
Behind him is second-year big man Zach Collins, who has shown promise but isn’t nearly consistent enough to engender trust in the postseason. Meyers Leonard has all but disappeared from the rotation since the Kanter addition, but he’ll also get back in the mix.
Kanter displayed some of his defensive weakness against the Pistons despite carrying the offense. That said, the Portland coaching staff is known for developing defense, though it is unlikely they will have time to have a lasting effect on Kanter before the team takes on the postseason.
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