Jazz center Enes Kanter began one-on-one workouts Monday with former NBA All-Star small forward Kiki Vandeweghe in Los Angeles. Kanter is scheduled to spend two weeks working out with Vandeweghe. Daily individual sessions are broken up by weight training, five-on-five games and shooting drills.
After a two-week run with Vandeweghe, Kanter will return to Salt Lake City by Sept. 17. He'll engage in one-on-one workouts with Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin in preparation for training camp for the 2012-13 season.
Kanter's work with Vandeweghe marks the first time the No. 3 overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft has been individually trained by a specific big-man coach since he entered the league. He previously engaged in workouts with Chicago-based trainer Tim Grover, and spent the 2011-12 season working with Jazz player development coach Michael Sanders, who was promoted Thursday to assistant coach.
Kanter, 20, averaged 4.6 points and 4.2 rebounds in 13.2 minutes during his rookie season. He played in all 66 regular-season games, shooting 49.6 percent from the field and 66.7 percent from the free-throw line.
Kanter showed promise and exceeded overall expectations. His playing time was sometimes erratic, though, and his action was limited during Utah's first-round playoff defeat to San Antonio.
Vandeweghe averaged 19.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists during 13 seasons with Denver, Portland, New York and the Los Angeles Clippers. He shot 52.5 percent from the field and 87.2 percent from the free throw line during his career, earning two All-Star appearances.
Vandeweghe held front-office roles with Dallas, Denver and New Jersey, and coached the Nets during the 2009-10 season. During his tenure with Dallas, Vandeweghe was credited with fine-tuning Dirk Nowitzki's game.
Excerpts from an interview Friday with Kanter
Kanter on how hard Vandeweghe is pushing him:
Oh, he's killing me, man.
How different workouts with Vandeweghe have been compared to his previous training:
The things he's done I've never — it's really simple things, but like little things; little and different. The stuff he's showing me, I've never done that before. He's showing me a lot of tricks. He's showing me how to beat my defender. He does a lot of stuff. It's crazy.
Does it help to be trained by someone who's played the game at a high level:
Oh yeah, definitely. He definitely knows what he's talking about. It's like, how can I say? He's like a basketball professor. He's really smart. Knows a lot of things about basketball. … He's playing basketball with his mind. The first day he asked me, 'What is the strongest muscle in your body?' I was like, 'Leg.' He was like, 'Nope.' I said, 'Abs and core, back.' He said, 'No.' He said, 'The strongest muscle you have is your brain. Always use it, always think about what you're doing.'
Are parts of the workouts similar to what he's done with the Jazz, Kentucky or Tim Grover:
It's a whole other world. He's showing me the little details. In Kentucky and Utah and with Tim Grover, I don't think — how can I say? He's showing me the little details and tricks.
Specific examples of tricks:
He's helping the defender make a mistake, you know? If he's low, shooting. If he's high, driving. How can I say? If he's going right, you're going to go left. If he's going left, you're going to go right. The elbow tricks.
I started Monday. I'm going to have one more practice [Saturday]. I'm going to take Sunday off. Then I'm going to practice until Saturday next week. And then I'm going to come to Salt Lake. … We practice in the morning two hours, then I play five-on-five. I take one and a half hour break. And then I do lifting for two hours. In the night time, I come here and I just shoot.
Is this the most confident he's felt since he entered the NBA:
Yeah, probably. Because he's like, 'You have a really good shot. Just be confident. Don't think about if it's going in or not.' He's giving me really good confidence.
… Only guy I know is Elton Brand. Elton Brand looks good. He's killing.
Return to SLC:
When I get there, I'm going to work with Ty Corbin one-on-one and just get ready for the training camp.
Planning for a second-year surge:
Oh yeah, absolutely. My first year, I was just getting used to the NBA. I was just seeing and learning stuff. Now, I have a one-year experience. My second year, I think I'm going to be so much better.
Brian T. Smith