Te Utah Jazz season comes to an end on Wednesday. With a lot of downs to start the season followed by a lot of ups after the All-Star break – Enes Kanter was traded to Oklahoma City in a 3-team deal that also sent Steve Novak with Kanter to OKC as well as the Detroit Pistons sending Kyle Singler and DJ Augustin to join the Thunder. The Jazz received Grant Jerrett, Kendrick Perkins (Jazz bought out his contract), draft rights to Tibor Pleiss, a 2017 second-round pick from the Pistons and a future first-round pick from the Thunder.
Since that trade, both teams have had a lot of success, but the question is who won the trade between the Jazz and Thunder? It may seem like the Jazz didn’t receive much in return but with the emergence of Rudy Gobert, the Jazz gained a lot from this trade. Brace yourself as there will be a lot of numbers coming up on your screen.
Rudy Gobert before the trade played in 53 games averaging 22 minutes per game, 6.9 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.2 BPG, 63% FG, 61% FT.
Once Kanter was dealt to the Thunder, in the 28 games since the trade, Gobert averaged 35 minutes per game, 11.2 PPG, 13.6 RPG, 2.5 BPG, 57% FG, 62% FT.
That isn’t a typo, Rudy improved his minutes by 13, his points per game by 4.3 and his rebounds by 6.3 per game! That is impressive for a guy who is in his second year and was drafted 27th overall in the 2013 NBA Draft.
As a team, the Jazz went into the All-Star break with a 20-34 record. Once Kanter made his exit from Utah, the Jazz went 19-9 and are now 38-43 overall on the season. That is incredible! This is after winning 25 games last season.
When Kanter was in Salt Lake City, in the 49 games he played this season, he averaged 27.1 minutes per game, 13.8 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 49% FG and 78% FT.
Since joining the Oklahoma City Thunder, in the 25 games played, Kanter averages 31 minutes per game, 18.4 PPG, 10.9, 56%, 77% FT.
That is also very impressive, but the Thunder have hit the injury bug this season with Kevin Durant sitting out as well as Serge Ibaka. If both were healthy, Kanter would be coming off the bench and would be averaging around 11 or 12 points per game. But he would be a great spark off the bench for the Thunder on offense. But every Jazz fan knows his weakness is defense. That could hurt him down the road for the Thunder.
The Thunder went into the All-Star break with a 28-25 record. Once Kanter arrived to Oklahoma City, the Thunder went 16-12 and sit at 44-37 overall, fighting for the 8th spot in the Western Conference. Keep in mind the absence of Ibaka and Durant.
The Jazz are now a much better team defensively, they allow 94.6 points per game, which is #1 in the NBA. This all comes back to Kanter’s ability to defend. Now you have Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert anchoring the Jazz defense at 30+ minutes a night. WATCH OUT NBA!
Enes couldn’t have came in to Oklahoma City at a better time then after the All-Star festivities. It was all Russell Westbrook and now Kanter can hold down the paint offensively and let Westbrook do his thing (which is whatever he wants).
Now we come to the question, who won the trade? Honestly, the Jazz won the trade. As they all say, defense wins championships and the Jazz are well on their way as long as Favors and Gobert improve. Once Durant and Ibaka return from injury, Kanter will be a role player off the bench. With his absence in Utah, the Jazz are now able to unleash the beast in Rudy Gobert.
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