NBA

Enes Kanter.

Enes Kanter is growing into a vital piece to the New York Knicks puzzle

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When the New York Knicks were finally able to trade Carmelo Anthony in a deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder, not much was made of the players they got in return.

With the franchise so keen to offload Melo, that became the primary headline and their own acquisitions were merely a footnote.

But 21 games into the season, the best player the Knicks got in that deal has already become an important piece of their puzzle this year.

Turkish center Enes Kanter has made his presence felt and is showing why the franchise should possibly be considered the big winners of the trade.

Impact

He has hit the ground running in New York and has made a bigger impact than many expected.

His importance in the team was made clear recently as he missed three games with back spasms. The team went 0-3 in his absence.

The 25-year-old returned for the clash with the Miami Heat on Wednesday night and the Knicks duly returned to winning ways thanks to a big performance from the former OKC man.

Kanter posted 22 points and 14 rebounds and shot a hugely efficient 7-of-9 from the field.

Kristaps Porzingis suffered a sprained ankle just two minutes into the game but his frontcourt partner filled in and took on the responsibility in his absence to end the team's three-game skid.

“Enes was a monster today,” Porzingis said. “He’s just a monster on the boards. That gives us so much energy when he gets those second-chance opportunities for us. He brings so much energy to us. His presence was felt today, by us and by the other team obviously. It’s good to have him back.”

The Madison Square Garden faithful has taken to Kanter and he's thoroughly enjoying and embracing playing in the league's biggest market.

Brooklyn Nets v New York Knicks

He brings a toughness and competitive edge on the floor that the organization has been lacking in recent years and he has played a major role in the team's resurgence this season.

In 18 games, he's averaging a double-double of 14.1 points and 10.4 rebounds whilst shooting a terrific 64.3 percent from the field, all of which are career-highs at this stage.

The seventh-year man has formed a strong relationship with Porzingis and is proving to be the perfect partner for him as he's a relentless battler in the post both in terms of scoring and rebounding.

His presence has allowed KP to play in his favoured power forward position and excel. Kanter has been overshadowed by the performances of 'The Unicorn' but his importance was clear in those three losses without him. 

Phoenix Suns v New York Knicks

From on-court scuffles and Twitter wars with LeBron James to encouraging his teammates to fight with opponents, the Kentucky product has endeared himself to the Knicks faithful and will continue to play a big role in the team's pursuit of a playoff berth. 

He's arguably playing the best basketball of his career in the Big Apple and he has been a perfect fit with the way head coach Jeff Hornacek wants to play. 

Kanter may be a controversial and outspoken figure off the court but he's finally starting to let his basketball do the talking too and it's speaking volumes in the Empire State.

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

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