Enes Kanter baffled at Knicks’ ‘bizarre’ use of him

isn’t complaining, however he’s additionally questioning why he and the fourth quarter don’t combine anymore, calling it “bizarre” — a phrase he used 4 instances.

For 5 straight video games coming into the Bulls contest Wednesday, Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek has pinned the beginning heart to the bench your complete fourth quarter. In Miami on Friday, Kanter sat each the fourth quarter and all of extra time.

Kanter’s minutes are right down to 25 per recreation, however he’s nonetheless averaging a double-double (13.four factors, 10.1 rebounds) as one of many first half’s surprises, turning into one of many league’s premier offensive rebounders.

It’s all a perform of the Knicks’ heart glut — and the notion Kyle O’Quinn continues to excel as Kanter’s backup. O’Quinn has consumed lots of the fourth-quarter minutes. The non-center tandem of Kristaps Porzingis and Michael Beasley additionally has been used to shut.

“I don’t know why,’’ Kanter mentioned. “What’d [Hornacek] say? I do not know why. I suppose it’s a bit of bizarre. I do not know. I have a look at the coach. He have a look at me. OK? I’ll sit on the bench.’’

Kanter and Kyle O’QuinnAP

Hornacek indicated O’Quinn has earned time within the fourth due to his protection, however Kanter hasn’t had that dialog with the coach.

“He didn’t [talk to me],’’ Kanter mentioned. “I’m prepared [to play in the fourth]. It’s a bit of bizarre to me, too. I suppose he’s making an attempt to make everyone pleased. That’s what he’s doing. A very powerful factor is that if we’re profitable or not. If we’re profitable, we’re good. If we’re dropping, there’s an issue.”

The Knicks had been 2-6 of their previous eight video games coming into Wednesday’s motion. Hornacek mentioned it’s not a straightforward name as a result of Kanter and O’Quinn supply contrasting attributes, though each are old-school pivots. Even banished heart Willy Hernangomez received a three-minute stint within the fourth quarter in Dallas on Sunday, however Kanter remained on the bench.

O’Quinn was having one among his greatest video games (16 factors, 11 rebounds) on Sunday, growing his commerce worth because the Knicks attempt to scale back their four-center jam by the Feb. eight deadline.

“How did KO do the final recreation?’’ Hornacek mentioned when requested why Kanter is sitting. “We’ve guys who’ve completely different ability units. KO’s passing, shot-blocking capacity is completely different than Enes. Enes is a man to get within the low put up and jam it in by means of guys and get offensive rebounds.

“Typically you say, ‘OK, KP is scoring. We’d like extra protection.’ If we’re struggling scoring, possibly it’s Enes. However possibly we’ll begin going massive as an alternative of small towards a few of these groups.’’

Certainly, the Knicks wish to trot out the brand new philosophy to make the most of their massive roster.

Kanter, O’Quinn, Hernangomez and veteran Joakim Noah all most likely may make the rotation on most NBA groups. Taking part in extra of Hernangomez — or Noah — would lower Kanter’s minutes.

“I cheer for my teammates, however I don’t have a solution,’’ Kanter mentioned.

The rotation is for certain to enter a brand new flux. Beasley returned from a one-game absence Wednesday towards Chicago and swingman Tim Hardaway Jr. might be again Friday in Minnesota.

Hornacek can have many selections to make, which is why the Knicks are attempting to do one thing with the roster by the deadline — and even earlier than signing G-League level guard Trey Burke, a former lottery decide.

Hornacek reiterated that Hardaway, out 5 and a half weeks, will play restricted minutes upon his return.

Hardaway will take part in his third apply Thursday — his second with full contact.

“If you’re out that lengthy, he must be in recreation form,’’ Hornacek mentioned. “We’ve to have some practices for him to do this. It gained’t be 40 minutes an evening to begin him out. We’ll construct him up.’’

Hornacek wouldn’t assure a Friday return however mentioned Hardaway responded nicely to his first full-court scrimmage.

“He mentioned earlier than shootaround he feels good,’’ Hornacek mentioned. “He’s itching to go. We’ve to watch out and hearken to docs. Give him medium-range [minutes] to construct his stamina. It’s not going to be a giant, massive quantity at first.”

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