It’s been a humbling season for the Miami Heat to say the least. After four straight Finals appearances, the Heat have been going through an identity crisis after the departure of LeBron James.
Then along comes a new hope in the form of 7 feet and 265 pounds, Center, Hassan Whiteside.
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Drafted in the 2nd round by the Sacramento Kings in 2010, Hassan Whiteside has been bouncing around from team to team playing in the D-League, also overseas in China and Lebanon. But, it looks like he’s finally found a home with the Miami Heat.
The 25-year-old big man has been showing a lot of promise upon his return to the team, after a recent quick stint with the Miami Heat’s D-League affiliate Sioux Falls Skyforce in December.
Miami has been lacking a strong interior presence for a while now.
For the last several years the Miami Heat has been searching for a quick fix answer at the center position. Erick Dampier (who moved up and down the court like he was playing in flip flops), Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Jamal Magloire, the Eddy Curry “Biggest Loser” experiment, and “The Warden” Joel Anthony all tried their hand at the spot but came up short.
Hassan Whiteside’s youth and size puts those names to shame, as he appears to be Miami’s long term solution at the Center position and a nice compliment to All-Star Power Forward Chris Bosh.
In January, Whiteside has averaged a double-double with 13.6 points and 10.4 rebounds per game, along with an impressive 3.6 blocks.
Whiteside has already caused havoc defensively against the NBA’s best big men like Blake Griffen, Lamarcus Aldridge, and Dwight Howard.
He consistently goes after every rebound, contests every shot in the paint and he’s a lock to swat a couple shots into the seats each game.
He’s a fun a player to watch. I can’t take my eyes off the guy whenever he’s on the court. Is that weird?!
Coach Erick Spolestra has been easing Whiteside into the rotation more and more, splitting time with 36-year-old Chris “Birdman” Andersen.
Andersen has been in the starting lineup for most of the season thus far, but he has never been “that guy” at any point in his career. Birdman is an energy guy who you bring off the bench for 15-20 minutes a game.
Last night, Hassan Whiteside made his first career start, recording a double-double in a loss vs olden State.
On Friday night Whiteside will get the chance to play against the team that drafted him in 2010, the Sacramento Kings.
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It might be a little premature but Hassan Whiteside shows potential to become one of the better big men in the game, in an era in which true centers are hard to come by.