He's here ladies and gentlemen.
You know it, I know it and the NBA should know it. Hassan Whiteside is ready for ANOTHER breakout season for the Miami Heat. Last year, Whiteside emerged on the scene in the NBA from the D-League. He quickly found his way into the Heat rotation, and even quicker into the Heat's starting lineup.
And last year, despite only playing less than 24 minutes per game, he averaged a double-double. Think about that for a second...he's playing less than half the game and he recorded 11.8 PPG and 10.0 RPG for the season, which inluded several small minute doses as Spoelstra figured out what he had.
As we embark on a Theme Day here at SB Nation looking at possible breakout players for each team, there's no one...NO ONE who is more ready for this than Hassan Whiteside.
We've already exhausted the possibility of every player having the chance for a break out season for the Miami Heat. Check out that article RIGHT HERE
But Whiteside is the clear answer. He's been training since the season ended. He's getting bigger, stronger, and more reliable. He's going to have to work on some intangibles like his attitude on the court, but the skill set is ready to explode.
The Heat know what they have
Miami spent much of the season exploring what Whiteside offered them and how to use him, and in flux with the roster changes of injuries and illness as well as trades. Now, the Heat have the starting unit set and healthy and Whiteside is probably the last option in that lineup. When you talk about the offensive capabilities of Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic...he's behind them. Him and Luol Deng will be grabbing all those extra passes from these guys who will cause matchup issues and double teams.
Whiteside can rebound and block shots, no doubt. No issues there. But he's been working on his post game and he's told that to Draymond Green...don't go small on him, he will make you pay.
Spoelstra knows what he is working with now and Whiteside will benefit from that.
More than a sample
Hassan gave us more than a sample size last season in terms of games. What we will get more of this season is more than a sample size in minutes. With Hassan averaging probably around 33 minutes per game this year, who knows what he will average across the board?
Don't be surprised if you see him put up 18 PPG and 13 RPG with 3 BPG. That's enough to start warranting a spot with the East All-Stars. He's going to get the minutes and the time, and he will have the trust.
He's not slowing down. He's still on a mission to prove to the world what he is capable of. And don't forget, he's still making less than $1 million this coming season for the Miami Heat. He wants to be paid next offseason and he can't afford to be a fluke. How Hassan plays this year is going to determine what his next contract will be. Remember, he will be 27 next offseason and this will be his one big payday in the NBA.
Not only will he benefit from his own improvements on the block, but he's going to continue to benefit from Dragic and Wade as they penetrate and alley-oop to him. But something more than that, he's going to be again playing alongside Chris Bosh who can stretch the floor and allow Whiteside some more room to work inside.
Don't underestimate what Whiteside will get as side points from other guys just dumping it off to the big guy down low.
Hassan Whiteside is due for a huge season. He can be something special. He's ready for a breakout year again, and likely could be on target for either Most Improved or Defensive Player of the Year.
Do you believe me?
Do you believe in Hassan?
It doesn't matter. Unless some type of outside reason prevents Hassan from performing, he's going to have a breakout year for the Heat. He could be what propels them to the top contender to LeBron James in the Eastern Conference.
His youth. His swagger. His confidence. The Heat need this.
It's going be fun!