The Ringer’s Danny Chau and Justin Verrier are sold on the importance of Enes Kanter to the Blazers postseason success. In an article about major takeaways from the opening weekend of the NBA playoffs, Chau and Verrier added this passage in a section titled “The Second West Finals Participant May Be Decided by … Enes Kanter?”:
The question now is whether Kanter can keep it up. The Blazers, believe it or not, have been the fifth-best team in basketball since the start of 2019, with ratings and a record similar to the suddenly indomitable Rockets. But their center rotation is a horror show—sophomore Zach Collins is so shaky that Meyers Leonard rose from the dead for five minutes Sunday. But if Kanter can continue to provide 30ish credible minutes, Portland could coast past OKC. (I want to see what happens if the Thunder try to go small with Jerami Grant at the 5; then again, that opens up George to more pounding and forces OKC to pretend it has more than two credible wings.) And while a date with Denver may not be as easy (the Blazers were 1-3 against them during the regular season), it’s hard to envision the Spurs keeping up in a track meet with the league’s third-best offense. After all that hand-wringing, Portland may have the inside edge to be the Warriors’ (or Rockets’?!) final in-conference feeding, and it’s all because of this guy.
What do you think? Is Kanter the x-factor in this series? Discuss it in the comments below!