SALT LAKE CITY -- The word is "comfortable."
Second-year Jazzman Enes Kanter's has a new go-to piece of syntax and he's quite obviously comfortable using it.
"I feel so much (more) comfortable out there," the 20-year-old said last week.
Kanter used the word countless times during his team's training camp and during the 2012 preseason schedule. English is not his first language, but the native of Turkey, by way of Zurich, appears to be a much different person as he approaches his second NBA season.
He credits three things with is transformation: No. 1, a better command of English; No. 2, the loss of more than 50 pounds off his 6-foot-10 frame and No. 3, extensive offseason work with the likes of teammate Al Jefferson and former NBA big man Kiki Vandeweghe.
Kanter came off the bench Saturday in Los Angeles to score 14 points and 14 rebounds as the Jazz beat the Lakers in a preseason game. The same two teams will meet again tonight in L.A.
"My first year, I didn't have much experience," he said. "This year I am much more confident and much more comfortable. Big Al is always trying to help me. Every time I do something right, he's clapping and every time I do something wrong he's coming over to me and saying, 'You should do this.' He's like a big brother to me."
Jefferson nicknamed Kanter "Big Turkey" last season and said he still considers him his favorite rookie, even though he's starting season No. 2.
The two worked together in the offseason at the Peak Performance Project training facility in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Between an improved diet, training regimen and workouts with Jefferson, Vandeweghe and others, Kanter has made himself a better player. He's still a 20-year-old who sometimes acts silly with his teammates, his serious approach to improving his health and his game has delighted the Jazz, who drafted him with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 draft.
"He'll continue to grow," coach Tyrone Corbin said. "He's a young guy. He's working hard."
"One thing I love about him is, he listens," Jefferson said. "When you tell him about something, he corrects it right there. The sky's the limit for him."
Kanter averaged 4.6 points and 4.2 rebounds in 66 games for the Jazz last season. Already in three preseason games this season he has averaged 12.6 points and 12.3 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field.
"He's the future of the NBA, he's got a lot of talent," said Jefferson.
Teammates say Kanter's English was just fine last season, he was just shy and quiet. This year, with a fine-tuned body he's always trying to show off, he has emerged from his shell.
"He's always been like that, I feel like he's just gained more confidence," said teammate Alec Burks.
Burks and Kanter broke in as rookies together last season. Burks points out nobody spent more time with Kanter than he did last season.
"He always talked to me like that," he said.
"I feel like that weight loss (brought him more confidence)," Burks added. "It added a lot more confidence to him. He's loving it right now."