Top Stories

Benched Kanter: 'I just want to play basketball'

Enes Kanter isn’t happy with his new role with the Knicks, one that sees him come off the bench and play fewer than 20 minutes per game.

The veteran big man expressed as much to reporters after New York’s 129-97 shellacking to the Jazz on Saturday. Kanter played just 17 minutes while shooting 0-for-6 from the field.

Steve Popper of Newsday Sports wrote that Kanter is trying to maintain a positive attitude even as he grapples with a situation he doesn’t understand.

“I don’t understand. This is too early in the season to shut me down,” Kanter said. “My goal is to go out there and try to be an All-Star this year. That was my goal. But now, look at the situation. You can’t do anything about it. you’ve got to stay positive, just got to stay positive.”

Kanter, acquired from Oklahoma City in 2017 in exchange for Carmelo Anthony, underwent a stint earlier this season in which he came off the bench. That stretch, however, still saw the 7-foot big man average over 25 minutes per game. The former third overall pick is averaging 14.3 points and 10.6 rebounds while shooting 54.3 percent from the field.The Knicks, however boast a defensive rating 5.5 points better when the eight-year veteran is on the bench.

“I just want to go out there and play basketball,” Kanter said. “I want to win. I don’t know why they’re shutting me down. I just want to go out there and win.”

The Knicks are now 9-28 and second-to-last in the East.