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NBA rules Hassan Whiteside eligible for Most Improved Player of the Year award

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Hassan Whiteside could earn serious consideration for the award.

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Hassan Whiteside has been one of the few bright spots for the Miami Heat and he now has the chance to get rewarded for it. According to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel, the NBA told them that "only first year players and rookies" are ineligible to win the award.

Whiteside will probably be at least in the running, considering how last year in the NBA he...wasn't in the NBA at all. From D-League pickup to starting center, Whiteside is averaging almost a double-double this year.

In 46 games, Whiteside is playing almost 24 minutes a game while averaging 11.4 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per contest. His strength continues to be bullying his way easily towards the basket, which is why his FG percentage is at 62% right now.

The highlights for Whiteside this season so far:

January 11th: Introductory game against the LA Clippers, where he had some words for Doc Rivers after.

January 25th: Triple Double 2k ratings game against the Chicago Bulls.

January 30th: 16 points and 24 rebounds against the Dallas Mavericks.

February 4th: 20 points and 24 rebounds against the Minnesota Timberwolves

February 28th: 14 points and 24 rebounds against the Atlanta Hawks

March 4th: 18 points, 25 rebounds and 4 blocks against the LA Lakers

March 16th: 16 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks against LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

April 9th: 19 points, 16 rebounds against the Chicago Bulls

Whiteside will face stiff MIP competition from Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors and Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls. Whiteside's most impressive month thus far has been in April, where he is averaging 15.3 points and 11 rebounds a game despite playing with a heavily bandaged hand after lacerating it on a rim.