RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Hassan WhitesidePosted by jstevrtc on June 22nd, 2010
Over the course of the next month until the NBA Draft on June 24, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 30-35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night. There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.
Player Name: Hassan Whiteside
NBA Position: Center
Projected Draft Range: Mid First Round
Overview: Hassan Whiteside surprised a lot of people when he spurned several SEC schools to play his college basketball at Marshall University, but his attendance at a comparatively small school didn’t mean the NBA scouts wouldn’t find him. They didn’t need to search very hard. Whiteside’s impact on the Conference USA landscape was immediate, posting a 14 point/17 rebound/9 block performance against eventual NCAA second-rounders Ohio University early in the season. He’d end up with three triple-doubles on the year — the first three ever for Marshall — all with blocks as the third statistic. His 12 other double-doubles helped propel the Thundering Herd to an overall 24-10 record and 11-5 in a very competitive CUSA. His 182 blocked shots was tops in the nation, averaging out to an amazing 5.4 BPG. And even though he was only there for the one year, he ended up as the all-time leader in blocked shots at Marshall. Mind you, we don’t mean for a freshman — that’s for a career.
Will Translate to the NBA: Obviously his shot-swatting prowess is his biggest asset, and will be the primary reason for any early minutes he gets in the league, but he’s no single-note player. He’s not just a tall, thin, awkward shot-blocking specialist. He’s good at using his size to get in position for grabbing boards, and shows a knack for peeling off more than his share of offensive rebounds. He has better hops than most players his size, and he gets off the floor quickly. Hassan is one of those players who, when you see him play, you can tell how much fun he’s having and that will endear him to teammates and fans. And he knows what it takes to be a professional athlete; his father played five seasons of professional football in the NFL and CFL.
Needs Work: There are rudimentary offensive skills there, but he needs to increase his repertoire of moves he employs in the post, as well as his comfort level in using them. He’s no stick, but he’ll need to add to his 227-pound frame by bulking up his upper body. This will also aid in absorbing all the contact he’ll receive, since he’s going to be spending so much time down low. That said, we assume he’s already shooting several hundred free throws a day, because his 58.8% he shot from the line in college has to improve. He improved 20 percentage points through the season, so we know he can do it.
Comparison Players: Given his offensive-to-defensive skill ratio as described above, Whiteside reminds us of Joel Pryzbilla of the Portland Trail Blazers, but we think Whtieside is a far superior prospect. His gift at blocking shots brings to mind Marcus Camby, but with some work, Whiteside could develop a better offensive skill set than the former UMass sensation.
Best Case Scenario: Assuming Whiteside gets comfortable in his own skin offensively and builds up his body, it’s easy to see him as more than just a defensive specialist who averages three or four points a game. With time and improved conditioning, there’s no reason he couldn’t eventually sneak onto a few All-Star teams and be an effective, versatile post presence in the league for well over a decade. That’s how much potential this kid has. Plus, it’s much easier to teach a kid offense than defense, and Whiteside has an eternity to learn it before anything will even be realistically expected of him on that end.
2013 Projection: He’ll get some minutes pretty quickly, though it’ll be for defense only, and his touches on offense will be limited. He’ll still be coming off the bench after his first three seasons, but the prospect of developing offensive skills in such a gifted defensive player will be too good to resist for whoever drafts him, and we expect him to have a mid-range jumper and a few offensive moves ready to go to begin his fourth or fifth year in the league. Once that happens, his minutes and his value will skyrocket.
Best NBA Fit: Of the teams that are likely to take him, the Miami Heat (18th pick) are an interesting option, since they really just have Jermaine O’Neal manning the center position, and if Whiteside was subjected to such trial-by-fire it would let Michael Beasley spend more time playing a traditional four. Whiteside has been moving steadily up the draft board over the past few days, and if it’s immediate minutes he wants, the Houston Rockets (14th pick) have them. With Yao Ming out, the Rockets have been platooning David Andersen, Jared Jeffries, and the 6’6 Chuck Hayes at center. As far as his long-term improvement, Milwaukee (15th pick) might be the best fit, since Andrew Bogut is used to playing a lot of minutes with little depth at his position, and it’d be good for Whiteside to have to go up against him in practice every day.