Defense the next challenge for Knicks’ Enes Kanter

WASHINGTON — The Knicks perceive Enes Kanter isn’t right here to unravel their defensive woes. He’s an previous-faculty, 6-foot-eleven, again-to-the-basket middle and voracious offensive rebounder.

Protection hasn’t been the brand new Knicks’ robust go well with and he even misplaced enjoying time in final season’s playoffs with the Thunder due to that deficiency.

After the Knicks allowed one hundred fifteen factors in Tuesday’s preseason loss to the Nets, they get again at it Friday towards the powerhouse Wizards, making an attempt to be stingier of their second outing with Kanter probably beginning within the pivot.

“We’re not going to be the best defensive group to start out out,’’ coach Jeff Hornacek stated. “Our make-up is a whole lot of offensive gamers. That’s one thing we have to get them to work daily to enhance.’’

Because the beginning middle battle rages on, Kanter might make his first begin. He misplaced a number of weight within the offseason — partly to get faster on protection — however Hornacek is happy over what Kanter can convey, offering the Knicks an inside-outdoors recreation that was missing final season when offensively challenged Joakim Noah manned the middle place on the outset.

“Take a look at the NBA, you can’t give me three guys enjoying again-to-the-basket anymore,’’ Kanter stated. “The sport is altering. However for those who can play again-to-the-basket and have footwork, it’s over. They ship a double workforce, you can also make the additional move and that’s it.’’

Second-yr man Willy Hernangomez confirmed flashes of strong publish play final season, however Kanter, 25, is extra superior. The issue is neither are fast on protection. Even at age 32, Noah in all probability is their handiest defensive middle, however he’ll miss the primary 12 common-season video games due to a efficiency-enhancing medicine suspension. After sitting out the primary exhibition recreation, Noah will debut Friday.

Hornacek, then the Jazz’s capturing coach, noticed Kanter at his worst as a rookie in 2011-12 with Utah.

“The sport has slowed down for him — I feel he’s turn into higher defensively on what groups try to do,’’ Hornacek stated. “He didn’t play at Kentucky, [so] he was fairly uncooked his first yr. Now he’s been across the league. He’s top-of-the-line [true] facilities on this league proper now.’’

The Knicks additionally like Kanter’s toughness and spirit, although his flamboyance backfired final season when he angrily punched a chair and was misplaced for six weeks with a forearm fracture. When Kevin Durant returned to Oklahoma Metropolis for the…

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