In the 2010 NBA Draft, the Sacramento Kings selected centre Hassan Whiteside out of Marshall University. As the third pick in the second round, NBA fans didn’t expect too much of him, but he did show some great talent in college; averaging 13.1 PPG, 8.9 RPG, and 0.3 APG, he was a solid centre with great potential.
One aspect that needed a little bit of work on were his turnovers per game. Hassan averaged 1.9 turnovers a night, which was the team high. He did play some heavy minutes at times, averaging 26.1 in Marshall, but that’s something that can easily be developed with good coaching. Nonetheless, he was an NBA prospect. Not the greatest prospect, but certainly not the worst prospect either; he was an average prospect that was chosen by the Kings in the second round.
As many now know, he would emerge to become a great NBA player and exceed all expectations. But let’s look back at the early stages in his career. In his rookie season, Hassan unfortunately played just one game before injury and didn’t contribute to the stat sheet in the contest, as he played just 2 minutes at the very end of the match. He didn’t even attempt a single shot. He missed most of the year due to a hip injury. So it’s without a doubt that Whiteside’s rookie year is not something to look back at. The next season, Whiteside was still recovering from injury, but played 18 games that season.
He averaged just 6.8 minutes per game, again, just playing towards the end when the game was already long decided. In those games, he averaged 1.6 PPG and 2.2 RPG while shooting 44% from the field. After Hassan’s short 2011-2012 campaign with Sacramento, the Kings didn’t see Whiteside as someone that would fit in with the team in the future, so they traded him. There weren’t any huge reactions from the media, as Hassan wasn’t a well known player, but he made his way to the Miami Heat.
After scouting him well, the Heat gave Hassan Whiteside more opportunity to play than he ever had in Sacramento. He found himself playing 23.8 minutes per game and was averaging a double-double for his new squad. He turned into one of Miami’s more reliable options, and was on the court during important stretches of games. His stats were 11.8 PPG and 10.0 RPG. His scoring was very efficient too, as Hassan shot 62.8% from the field.
Whiteside’s numbers just kept improving every season, and eventually, in the 2016-2017 season, Hassan Whiteside was a top 10 centre in the league. He was averaging a spectacular 17 PPG and was a monster on the boards, averaging 14.1 RPG. As a big man, Hassan was never a great passer, but he averaged a high in assists, with 0.7 APG. The Heat did miss the playoffs that year despite Hassan having a breakout season.
Since then, Whiteside hasn’t been too much better: his game has pretty much plateaued over the past few years. This season, he is averaging 13.2 PPG, 13.6 RPG, and 0.8 APG. As the numbers show, Hassan is playing relatively similar to his previous years, and his prime should come around now, as he is just 29 years of age. Even though he hasn’t been going through any major improvements, Hassan Whiteside is still a great player, and one of the primary options for his team.
This season, Whiteside is doing whatever he can to will his team to victory as the Miami Heat continue to struggle. In his game Sunday against the Utah Jazz, Whiteside put up a monster performance with 23 points, 20 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 3 blocks. That’s the kind of stellar performance that his team needs from him, especially in close games like that of the Sunday night match-up; eventually, the Heat won 102-100.
Overall, the Miami Heat are the ninth seed in the eastern conference, just fighting for a playoff spot. Will the Heat fall short of the playoffs once more, or will Hassan Whiteside propel his struggling team to a quality playoff run?Whiteside is a large part of the team’s future, and Miami is currently trusting him to carry the team through tough times along with veteran Dwyane Wade.