The Portland Trail Blazers lost a notable player Thursday night, as center Jusuf Nurkic suffered a fractured right wrist. How long he’ll be out is not clear yet. But surgery or not, he’s going to miss some time.
With Zach Collins (ankle) already out, Enes Kanter and Harry Giles are in line to be leaned on heavily as Portland’s top two big men. Kanter is, more specifically, in line to replace Nurkic in the starting lineup. Which naturally puts him firmly on the fantasy radar.
Kanter is averaging 10.0 points and 8.9 rebounds per game this season, over just under 19 minutes per game. Not that he’ll suddenly double his minutes, but his per-36 minute numbers are robust (19.3 points, 17.2 rebounds).
When he was with the Trail Blazers during the 2018-19 season, after Nurkic suffered a major leg injury, we got a glimpse at what Kanter can do as Portland’s starting center. In those eight starts (29.3 minutes per game), he averaged 18.1 points, 11.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.6 blocks and 2.3 turnovers per game. He also shot 61.5 percent from the floor over that span.
As a starter in his career (223 games), Kanter has averaged 14.9 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. He doesn’t really block shots, but he does have multiple blocks twice in his last five games.
Kanter’s ownership rates are higher than I expected they’d be. But he’s a must-add in fantasy now, with solid two-category production and a boost in playing time while Nurkic is out.
Enes Kanter Fantasy Ownership Rates:
ESPN Ownership: 33.8%
Yahoo! Ownership: 55%