The Boston Celtics will be the fifth team Enes Kanter has played for in his NBA career, but he does have experience playing alongside one of the franchise's best players.
Kanter and Celtics forward Gordon Hayward spent three-plus seasons together with the Utah Jazz when both players were just starting their careers. Kanter left the Jazz when he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2014-15 season.
Hayward has seen plenty of improvement in the veteran center's skill set over the years and is excited for what he'll bring to the Celtics.
"It's amazing how in the NBA things come full circle all the time," Hayward told reporters Tuesday. "When Enes and I were playing together we were both a lot younger, and things were definitely a little different. I've watched his game grow up as he's been around the league with different teams.
"He'll be a fan favorite. Everyone's going to love his energy that he brings. He's one of the best offensive rebounders in the league, so that's going to be a no-doubt. He's gotten really good at that half-roll area and making decisions in there. And also, in a game that doesn't have many post players, he's a bucket on the block -- he always has been. Someone you can go to for a bucket, especially if there's a mismatch."
Hayward is right about Kanter's ability to own the offensive glass, and the Turkish center's impressive energy and hustle are huge parts of that rebounding success.
Kanter ranked fifth in the NBA last season with 3.8 offensive rebounds per game. He grabbed 9.8 total rebounds per game between the New York Knicks and Portland Trail Blazers, and he'll need to bring that same tenacity on the boards to Boston.
The Celtics lost veteran centers Al Horford and Aron Baynes over the offseason, so multiple players will need to step up and fill the rebounding void created as a result of their departures. Kanter is the most obvious candidate to help serve in that role, and his low-post scoring and high energy will be nice bonuses, too.
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