The unexpected emergence of Hassan Whiteside
POSTED: Feb 3, 2015 11:05 AM ET
The journey of Hassan Whiteside from Sacramento to the D-League to Lebanon to China back to the D-League and finally to Miami is one fueled by determination.
"Three months ago, you can ask anybody at the downtown [YMCA] in Charlotte, I was there just chilling. Just working on my game," Whiteside said after his 14-point, 13-rebound, 12-block, 24-minute domination against Chicago. "I couldn't even get a team to pick up the phone."
Now that the lengthy 7-foot center is blooming with the Heat, it's hard to understand how he was overlooked for so long.
In his four games since returning from a sprained ankle, Whiteside is averaging 16.5 points (58 FG%, 72.7 FT%), 15.5 rebounds, 4.0 blocks and 1.3 turnovers in just 29.8 minutes. This stretch includes the aforementioned team-record 12-block triple-double and a 24-rebound outburst with a team-record 14 boards in the first quarter. Over this same stretch he's grabbing an absurd 38.1 percent of defensive rebounds and 21.4 percent of offensive when he's on the floor. On the season, he's grabbing 24.3 percent of all boards to lead the league.
"He gets so close to the basket, and his reach is next to none," Dirk Nowitzki said after Whiteside grabbed 24 rebounds against Dallas. "He's so long out there, it's incredible. When he's so close to the basket, he just tips it to himself or tips it in. And then he started to make some jump shots today. So, yeah, that's a nice find for sure for Miami."
It's not just on the glass where Whiteside is dominating. On defense, he's holding opponents to 48.8 percent shooting from within five feet, which leads the league for players defending at least 10 restricted area shots per game. On offense, he's shooting 64.3 percent with just 78.5 percent of his points coming in the paint. This shows the development of his mid-range jumper, which he's hitting at a 52.9 percent clip. It's difficult to imagine how opponents will guard Whiteside if he continues to hit jumpers at this rate.
Highlights from Hassan Whiteside's monster game against the Bulls where he goes for a franchise-record 12 blocks to go along with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Drafted by Sacramento with the 33rd pick in the 2010 Draft, Whiteside led the nation in blocked shots with 182 during his one season at Marshall University. A torn tendon in his left knee sidelined him for his rookie season and the Kings eventually waived him during the summer of 2012 after he failed to develop quickly enough. He hopped around the world before finally landing in Miami in November after strong performances with the Iowa Energy of the D-League.
"In high school, it was, 'Where'd he come from?'" Whiteside said. "Five years ago, if anybody followed my Marshall career, I did one year there. I didn't even start until later on in the season, and by the end of the season, I was projected as a lottery pick. It's been like that all my life. It's always, 'Where'd he come from?'"
This same question is probably being asked around your fantasy leagues as Whiteside is far and away the waiver wire pickup of the season so far. While it's unlikely he will continue at this torrid pace for the rest of the year, what about his emergence hasn't already been unlikely?
Unless he completely bottoms out, Whiteside should remain in the Heat's starting lineup for the remainder of the season. Though as he said after his triple-double, he's just trying to get his 2K rating up.
Hassan Whiteside and Dwyane Wade talk postgame after Whiteside records a franchise-record 12 blocks to go along with 14 points and 13 boards.
Week 15 Schedule Breakdown
Four games: ATL, BKN, BOS, CHA, CLE, DAL, DET, GSW, LAC, MEM, MIL, MIN, NOP, OKC, ORL, PHI, PHX, POR, SAC, TOR, UTA, WAS
Three games: CHI, DEN, HOU, IND, LAL, MIA, NYK, SAS
Pick 'Em Up
Brandon Bass - 23 percent owned
Bass is receiving a lot of burn in Boston with Kelly Olynyk (ankle) out and Jeff Green in Memphis. Over the past seven games, Bass is averaging 12.6 points (48.6 FG%, 74.1 FT%), 7.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.1 blocks in 30.6 minutes. He's a solid add if you need some points and boards.
Let 'Em Go
Mo Williams - 31 percent owned
Williams was a valuable asset over the last few weeks as Ricky Rubio healed. This changes now that Rubio will reportedly return to the lineup on Monday. Williams will lose mostly all of his value with the move to the bench and can be dropped in all leagues. His 52-point outburst will forever live in our memories.
Cody Zeller - 12 percent owned
Zeller was a hot add on Sunday after dropping one of the best lines of the season with 21 points (10-for-11 FG), eight rebounds, three assists, three steals, two blocks and zero turnovers on the Nuggets. Zeller scored 14 of his 21 points in the first quarter against a hapless Nuggets squad that was outscored 30-15 in the period and trailed 62-30 at half. He has received over 30 minutes in three straight games and should average around a double-double with a few blocks every night (averaged 7.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.5 blocks in four games prior to Saturday). Just don't expect Zeller to come anywhere near the elite level he displayed in Denver again anytime soon.
Weekly Fantasy Forecast
Rick Kamla looks ahead to the upcoming week in fantasy hoops.