In an interview with WFAN’s Steve Somers on Tuesday night, the 6-foot-11 center said that if the Knicks want to be a playoff team, they must find ways to win on the road and improve defensively.
The Knicks enter Wednesday night’s game against the Bulls with a 19-21 record, 10th best in the Eastern Conference. They are 15-7 at home, but just 4-14 on the road.
Kanter admitted the team needs to bring the same energy on the road that it does at Madison Square Garden.
“I think we’re starting to figure it out,” Kanter said. “If you look at our last four games on the road, we beat New Orleans and we beat Dallas. Now I think it’s starting to click. Everybody just knows his part now. I think if we stick with the game plan and give our best, I think it’s going to work out well.”
Kanter said he’s also optimistic the Knicks will shore up their defense.
“If you look at offensively, we are there,” he said. “We have special pieces. We have KP (Kristaps Porzingis). We’ve got Tim (Hardaway Jr.), me, all the other guys. We have a really special team where we know we’re going to score the ball. But … if you want to be a playoff team … we need to be just focused on our defense.
“I think the defense is all trust and communicate. I think just as time goes on, it’s going to get better and better.”
Kanter also discussed the tensions between him and his native Turkey. Prosecutors there are reportedly seeking a four-year prison sentence for him on charges that he insulted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Last year, the government revoked Kanter’s passport.
Kanter told Somers that it’s difficult for him to contact his relatives in Turkey because the government has been monitoring their phones and computers and would jail them if it learned they had communicated with the NBA star.
“If you look at the situation, it’s pretty crazy what’s going on in Turkey right now,” Kanter said. “The regime and the government are using its power to abuse people. And if you look at what happened after July 15, 2016 — the coup attempt — there is over 100,000 people in jail — innocent people — and they’re waiting for help. When I say people, not just men. There are women in there, babies are in there, kids are in there.
“What I’m doing right now is I’m trying to be the voice of these innocent people.”
To listen to the interview, click on the audio player above.