Brooklyn Nets: 3 things to watch in post-break return against Blazers

Brooklyn Nets Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets Enes Kanter (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

1. Noted Net killer Kanter now a Blazer

Enes Kanter’s last four games against the Brooklyn Nets as a member of the New York Knicks were big ones, as the Turkish big man posted double-doubles in all four meetings, including a 20-point, 20-rebound effort at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 30, 2018.

Kanter, one of the pieces acquired by the Knicks when they traded Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder in September 2017, was bought out by New York on Feb. 7 and signed with the Portland Trail Blazers on Feb. 13.

He is expected to make his debut for the Blazers Thursday night at Barclays Center against the Nets.

In three meetings against Brooklyn with the Knicks this season, Kanter averaged 22.3 points, 13.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 steals in 29.4 minutes per game, shooting 65.9 percent from the floor.

The Nets may benefit from Kanter having some rust. He hasn’t played in a game since Feb. 1 and only appeared in three games, for a total of 42 minutes, after Jan. 8.

The veteran fell out of favor with the Knicks, who opted to play young bigs Mitchell Robinson and Luke Kornet as they kick their tanking draft-pick enhancement effort into full gear.

Kanter, in his eighth NBA season, averaged 14.0 points and 10.5 boards in 25.6 minutes per game in 44 games for New York this season, shooting 53.6 percent overall and hitting 31.8 percent on 0.5 3-point attempt a game.

Portland coach Terry Stotts said Wednesday that Kanter will move into the backup 5 minutes behind starter Jusuf Nurkic, per Joe Freeman of The Oregonian, presumably ahead of young Zach Collins and veteran Meyers Leonard.

That means’s Brooklyn’s bigs will have to deal with not one, but two, gigantic loads inside. Nurkic is an enormous 7-feet and 275 pounds and Kanter isn’t much smaller at 6-foot-11 and 250 pounds.

Given the Nets’ struggles against over-sized bigs, that could spell double-trouble.