Enes Kanter has had a career full of ups and downs. In a wide-ranging Q&A with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, Kanter touched on his time with the Portland Trail Blazers and the idea that you “can’t play Kanter” in the playoffs:
After you played well and eliminated the Oklahoma City Thunder, you tweeted “CAN play Kanter.” That was a funny reference to the viral clip of Billy Donovan saying he “can’t play Kanter” during the 2017 playoffs. How nice was it to have that kind of performance against your former team?
EK: There was this video where [Donovan] says, “Can’t play Kanter,” so I just wanted to go out there and prove everybody wrong. I wanted to go show the whole world, yes, I can play. Yes, you can play Kanter. My focus was just going out there and playing for my team and just winning. With the leadership of Dame [Lillard] and CJ [McCollum], the game just comes so easily and we were able to win that series.It was very important. When I was with the Knicks, the season wasn’t going the way that I wanted. I wanted to go out there and win. I’m glad that I picked Portland [after being waived]. Portland was definitely one of the best stops of my career. It helped me grow into a better player and a better person at the same time. I thank the people around me: Dame, CJ, Coach [Terry] Stotts. It was definitely an amazing experience. We had an amazing team and we really understood each other on and off the court, so we were able to go to the Western Conference Finals for their first time in 19 years. It really was amazing.
Kanter averaged 13.1 points and 8.6 rebounds for the Blazers and admirably filled in the injured Jusuf Nurkic as the Trail Blazers reached the Western Conference Finals.