Enes Kanter entered the 2018-19 NBA season as the New York Knicks starting center. In the first five games of the season, the 26-year-old big man averaged 16.8 points and 10.8 rebounds on 57.4 percent shooting from the field and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc. Unfortunately, those numbers were not enough to help the Knicks win games, and as of now, they are on a five-game losing streak.
Entering the season without the face of the franchise, Kristaps Porzingis, the Knicks must be aware that they are not in a strong position to compete for a playoff spot in the LeBron James lacking Eastern Conference. That is likely why, in their sixth game of the 2018-19 NBA season, Knicks head coach David Fizdale decided to give more playing time to his young players over the established court veterans. According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, the Knicks rebuild seems to be frustrating Kanter.
“David Fizdale has pushed the youth movement faster than expected, and he risks alienating at least one proven veteran – Enes Kanter – by moving him to the bench. With two days to contemplate the demotion, Kanter remained tellingly short and evasive when quizzed about it Sunday. Fizdale suggested the center’s cold reaction was merely frustration with losing, but Kanter didn’t bite when offered that excuse. Instead, he changed the subject. At one point, Kanter said he didn’t care about coming off the bench. But then, following the interview, Kanter shook his head and rolled his eyes.”
Enes Kanter is clearly not happy coming off the bench but David Fizdale wants him to understand the team is rebuilding https://t.co/FvRNtzvN1N
— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) October 28, 2018
In their blowout loss to the Golden State Warriors, David Fizdale used Mitchell Robinson, the 36th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, as his starting center — and reportedly asked Enes Kanter to lead their second unit. Kanter may not have publicly admitted it, but he’s definitely frustrated at being demoted to the bench and in receiving less playing time — especially now that he is aiming to become an All-Star this season.
Aside from Kanter, veteran forward Lance Thomas also found himself having a limited role. 33-year-old shooting guard Courtney Lee hasn’t played a single game this season due to a neck injury. In the upcoming games, the Knicks are expected to use a starting lineup featuring their young core of Frank Ntilikina, Tim Hardaway Jr., Damyean Dotson, Noah Vonleh, and Mitchell Robinson.
Fizdale admitted that undergoing a rebuilding process is tough for their veterans like Enes Kanter. However, Fizdale strongly believes that what they are doing right now is what is best for the overall future of the team.