NBA

Enes Kanter.

Jeff Hornacek calls Enes Kanter "one of the best centers in the league"

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The New York Knicks are ready to enter a rebuilding phase after finally trading Carmelo Anthony last month.

The franchise had been looking to ship the veteran since the backend of last season and finally offloaded him to the Oklahoma City Thunder after he agreed to waive his no-trade clause and accept the move.

The Knicks received Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a future second-round pick in return and are now looking to build a team around a core of young players.

Kristaps Porzingis is now the face of the franchise and will be tasked with becoming their leader at the age of just 22.

The Latvian has already stated that he is ready for the responsibility but believes he can only produce his very best on the floor if he's played in his favoured position of power forward instead of center.

Luckily for Porzingis, the arrival of Kanter should see him operate at the four spot more often and head coach Jeff Hornacek all but confirmed this as he recently claimed that the former OKC man is among the top centers in the NBA.

“The game has slowed down for him — I think he’s become better defensively on what teams are trying to do,’’ Hornacek told the New York Daily News. “He didn’t play at Kentucky, [so] he was pretty raw his first year. Now he’s been around the league. He’s one of the best [true] centers in this league right now.’’

New York Knicks Media Day

Kanter was a sixth man last year for the Thunder and averaged 14.3 points and 6.7 rebounds off the bench.

He is considered as one of the best scoring big men in the league and can easily average a double-double if given enough of an opportunity on the offensive end.

With his ability to score inside and Porzingis' outside range, the duo can potentially become one of the most lethal big man combinations in the league.

But the pair have their limitations on the other side of the floor and Hornacek has acknowledged that they will have their struggles defensively.

Miami Heat v New York Knicks

“We’re not going to be the greatest defensive team to start out,’’ Hornacek said. “Our makeup is a lot of offensive players. That’s something we need to get them to work every day to improve.’’

It remains to be seen if Kanter will assume a starting spot with New York as Kyle O'Quinn was preferred at the five in their opening pre-season encounter with the Nets.

Hornacek also has Willy Hernangomez and Joakim Noah - when he returns from suspension - to consider.

It will be a transitional period for the Knicks this year as the playoffs look like an unlikely target, but there may just be a bright future in the Big Apple.

Topics:
Eastern Conference
NBA
Kristaps Porzingis
New York Knicks
Atlantic Division
Carmelo Anthony

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