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#pounditMonday, January 24, 2022

Celtics coach responds to Enes Kanter’s apparent criticism about playing time

Enes Kanter

Enes Kanter seems to think that non-basketball reasons are behind his lack of minutes this season, but his head coach is insisting that is not the case.

The Boston Celtics big man Kanter hinted on Twitter this week at frustration with his low playing time. “Keep limiting me on the court, I will expose you off the court,” Kanter wrote in a tweet.

In recent months, Kanter has been a vocal critic of the Chinese government and president Xi Jinping. Kanter has expressed his support for Tibetan and Taiwanese independence and has spoken out about China’s alleged human rights violations against Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic groups. He has also called out both the NBA and Nike for what he sees as a failure to stand up to China. As a result, Celtics games have been banned in the country.

On Monday, Celtics coach Ime Udoka responded to Kanter’s tweet about “limiting me on the court.”

“I’ve talked to him and I saw it,” said Udoka, per Jay King of The Athletic. Udoka also said that playing time is strictly based on basketball and that he told Kanter that the lack of minutes is partly because all the switching that the Celtics do is not natural for him.

The former No. 3 overall pick Kanter has played just ten minutes all season. He has been stuck behind veteran Al Horford as well as younger players like Robert Williams and Grant Williams in the Celtics’ frontcourt rotation.

While Kanter had a consistent role off Boston’s bench under former coach Brad Stevens, he has always been known as a weak defender. That means he may not be the best fit under the new scheme of the first-year coach Udoka, who is still trying to figure things out himself for the sub-.500 Celtics.

Photo: Nov 22, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter (11) before the game against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

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