There may be no 'D' in "Enes Kanter," but Knicks coach David Fizdale begs to differ.
Fizdale said the 26-year-old center is beginning to flaunt some skills on the defensive side of the ball.
"I just want him to be who he is -- a bruiser and banger," Fizdale told the New York Post. "I think he's starting to show he's a better defender than everyone tried to label him as. That's real hard work and conditioning and systematically putting him in the right place. He's doing a heckuva job defensively. On the glass, he's a terror."
Kanter picked up 20 rebounds during Wednesday night's preseason game in Brooklyn, adding 22 points over 27 minutes. He averaged 11 boards last season, his first with New York.
Knicks rookie big man Mitchell Robinson has drawn much of the spotlight during a sizzling preseason, despite suffering an ankle sprain Wednesday. But Fizdale said Kanter brings a quality to the team that younger centers -- no matter how talented -- do not.
"Most teams don't have the luxury of a low-post threat like that," Fizdale said of Kanter, per the Post. "Some people may disagree with me. He's a top-five back-to-the-basket, power player. You just don't see that anymore. They're a dying breed and we have one."
"Position-wise, he's sliding his feet," he added. "He's smart. That's why he'll succeed defensively. He's not going to out-quick anyone. We know that. He's not a guy who's like Mitchell who's going to grab shots off the top of the backboard. He's a position defender and smart."
Kanter said Fizdale isn't the only one putting confidence in his defense.
"I know my teammates trust me defensively right now," Kanter said. "Be active, communicate, pick-and-roll defense. I'm like the quarterback and have to see everything. It's a process but I'm getting there."