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Home - Meet the Miami Heat centre that is taking the NBA by storm







  Meet the Miami Heat centre that is taking the NBA by storm



February 12, 2015

Hassan Whiteside is enjoying a tremendous season with the Heat, but it wasn’t easy getting there. Throughout the Miami Heat’s successful recent period, with LeBron James headlining an All-Star trio that contained Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, there remained one nagging flaw in the side’s makeup according to the naysayers. They lacked size.

Consistent

Of course, with the best player in the world on your side and a handy set of support acts backing him up, the lack of length on the Heat’s roster never really troubled them as they reached the NBA Finals four years in a row and collected shiny new rings in two of them.

There is something deliciously ironic though in the fact that, in the first season since James took his talents away from South Beach, the Heat have plucked a big-man out of thin air that could potentially dominate the Eastern Conference for years to come. It’s just a shame the franchise aren’t matching the play being produced by Hassan Whiteside.

Almost a month to the day after the start of the regular season, the Heat signed the 7ft, 265lb centre from practical obscurity but have since watched, along with the rest of the league, as the 25-year-old has thrust himself into the wider consciousness of the sport.

Remarkable stats

As of February 4, Whiteside had registered four double-doubles and one triple-double consecutively in his last five games. At the same point, his Player Efficiency Rating (a stat which measures a players overall impact on games) ranks second in the entire NBA, ahead of global stars like James, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry.

If Whiteside is enjoying his time in the NBA now, it has been a long time coming. Drafted with the third pick in the second round by the Sacramento Kings way back in 2010, despite ownership wanting to sell it on, Whiteside failed to convince in the two years he spent in California. Derided as too lightweight and too adolescent to make it the NBA, he was waived in 2012 having split his time between the big-time and the D-League.

Without an option left in the league, Whiteside went abroad, playing in Lebanon and China and although he won a Championship in the latter, it was a levelling experience.

He witnessed violence in the stands at games, heard a car bomb go off and saw a dead body in the street, but admits despite those tough times the ability to play every day helped his game progress. His improvements alerted the Memphis Grizzlies, who signed him last November, but was cut a day later.

In stepped the Heat, who had held a workout with him back in his pre-draft days, and immediately they noticed his progression.

After pushing himself into Eric Spoelstra’s rotation, Whiteside has made sure he makes every minute on the court count.

There was a 23-point, 16-rebound effort against the LA Clippers in January, then a 16 and 16 outing against Milwaukee soon after. Across 2015’s month, Whiteside averaged 13 points, 10.6 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per game.

Perhaps his blocking numbers have been the most striking. With such height on his side, and a 7ft 7” wingspan, it is perhaps expected that Whiteside is a shot swatting machine, but he isn’t disappointing.

He set a new Heat record when blocking 12 Chicago Bulls shots while collecting his first NBA triple double on January 25 and said after the game that he just wanted to boost his rating on the video game NBA2K15. It seems that is Whiteside’s mindset at the moment, making the league regret passing up on him in 2010.

Once he adjusts his focus from proving people wrong to winning a title with the Heat, the rest of the league better make way.




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