The door was wide open for the Boston Celtics to make another run at an NBA title. Gone were the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks. The third-seeded Celtics then eliminated the No. 2 Toronto Raptors, clearing the way for a meeting with the fifth-seeded Miami Heat. The Heat, however, made quick work of the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, winning the series 4-2. When it was over, Celtics center Enes Kanter, who played sparingly in the series, had a message for the team.
Enes Kanter’s NBA career
Enes Kanter was drafted third overall by the Utah Jazz in the 2011 NBA draft. Kanter, a 6-foot-10, 250-pound center, spent the first two seasons in Utah primarily coming off the bench. During the 2013-14 season – his third year in the league – Kanter started 37 games and saw his production rise.
Kanter became a full-time starter for the Jazz in 2014-15, starting in 48 of the 49 games he played before he was traded mid-season to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a three-team deal. He spent three seasons with the Thunder and averaged 14.2 points and eight rebounds per game.
In 2017, Kanter was traded to the New York Knicks. He played two seasons in New York and then played one year with the Portland Trail Blazers. He averaged a double-double with the Knicks (14 points, 10.8 rebounds). Kanter then signed with the Boston Celtics for the 2019-20 season. He mainly came off the bench and averaged 8.1 points and 7.4 rebounds.
Kanter’s time with the Celtics
Enes Kanter hooked on with the Boston Celtics prior to the 2019-20 season. The Celtics just lost Al Horford in free agency and had a glaring weakness in the middle. Kanter was eager to play for a team that had a shot at the title and he and the Celtics were a perfect match.
Not known for his defensive prowess, Kanter was a role player in Boston. He started in seven of the 58 regular-season games for the Celtics, averaging 16.9 minutes per game. That suited him just fine. Prior to the season, Kanter stressed winning was the most important thing to him, especially at this point in his career.
“The reason I went (to Boston) is for a championship,” Kanter said, according to The Sporting News. “I feel like the team is really young and willing to learn and we have an amazing group of guys. I feel like we can beat any team on any floor. All we have to do is just be good friends and stay together. … It’s definitely going to be a very, very exciting season.”
Kanter has a message for the Boston Celtics
The third-seeded Boston Celtics needed only to beat the fifth-seeded Miami Heat for another trip to the NBA Finals. The Celtics blew a 14-point fourth-quarter lead and then a 17-point lead in the first two games, digging themselves a huge hole. Boston lost the series 4-2.
In the six games against the Heat, Enes Kanter averaged less than six minutes per game. In two of those games, he didn’t see any time. Despite his lack of playing time and the Celtics’ loss to the underdog Heat, Kanter had a positive message to the Boston Celtics and their fans.
“What a blessing to play for an organization like the Celtics,” Kanter wrote on Twitter. “This team, this organization, the whole state made me a more complete player and a better person on & off the court. Signing here was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Huge thanks to craziest fans in the NBA.”