Over just a year ago the Miami Heat made a huge gamble by signing an unproven center with a resume of only 19 NBA career games and an average of 0.8 points to show for it in four years.
Hassan Whiteside, the Heat's golden find of the decade, has turned out to make the Heat look very smart for taking that gamble. Whiteside now generates a much improved 10.1 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game on 61% shooting for his career averages.
The 33rd pick in the 2010 draft played 19 games with the Sacramento Kings before stints in the Middle East and China. The center resumed his NBA career with the Heat in late November of 2014 and has been a revelation since, getting a clear shot at showcasing his talents and helping the Heat become one of the best defensive teams in the league.
Below are some his best moments, starting with his five best games:
Top 5 games
#5 - 23 points, 16 rebounds, 10-13fg, Win @ L.A Clippers - 1/11/15
Before this game occurred there were Heat fans who weren't sure who Whiteside was. In fact, this is the only game on the list which Whiteside didn't start. It was before he earned the trust of even the coaches. He made sure to show it during the game and he showed it big. Matching up against the powerful front court of DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin, Whiteside made sure they'd remember him the next they played as he punished them all game long. Jordan was held to just 6 rebounds, far below his league-leading 15.0 rebounds a game.
#4 - 18 points, 25 rebounds, 5 blocks, Win vs. L.A Lakers - 3/4/15
With this superb performance against the Lakers, Whiteside placed himself second with the most rebounds in a Heat game behind only Rony Seikaly, who had 34 in 1993. Towards the end of the game Wade and Whiteside would connect on some electrifying highlights, a staple that still exists today.
#3 - 24 points, 20 rebounds, 3 steals, 12-13fg - Loss @ Minnesota - 2/4/15
In Minnesota, Whiteside had his first career 20-20 game in a close 102-101 loss to the Timberwolves. He became the seventh Heat player to do so. The 7-footer started the game by making his first 11 straight shots on his way to finish 12-13, a stellar 92% shooting.
#2 - 14 points, 13 rebounds, 12 blocks - Win @ Chicago - 1/25/15
This was Hassan Whiteside's official introduction to the World as the game was nationally televised on ABC. He caught the eye of the league immediately with the dominant showcase against Joakim Noah and the defensive-minded Chicago Bulls.
Almost as impressive as the actual triple-double with blocks itself was the fact that Whiteside did this in less than 25 minutes, 24 to be exact. This was the fastest triple-double with blocks to occur in over 30 years. After the game, Whiteside famously said, "I'm just trying to get my NBA 2k rating up".
#1 - 22 points, 14 rebounds, 10 blocks - Loss vs. Minnesota - 11/17/15
If he can do it once, he can do it twice. The 2015-2016 version of Hassan Whiteside got his second triple-double with blocks in November and it looked a lot better. Whiteside had more points and rebounds this time around versus the first time. It was also done at home in front of the Heat fans to witness. Despite the historic performance, the Heat were unable to grasp the victory.
Within 100 games
- In 80 of the 100 games, Whiteside has shot at least 50%.
- Whiteside has blocked at least one shot in 73 of the 81 Heat games.
- Dating back to last season, Whiteside's longest block streak is 26 games. He's blocked a shot in 36 of his last 37 games. Whiteside has two career triple doubles with blocks in 100 games. Hakeem Olajuwon leads the list with 9. The former Rocket has played in 1238 games. The 26-year old is easily on pace to break that record.
- This season Whiteside currently leads the NBA in blocks with 4.00 a game. To provide a foundation for that average, Whiteside has blocked the most shots in the league with a total of 132 in 33 games. More crazier than that, his next closest competitors, DeAndre Jordan and Serge Ibaka, have just 81 each (in more games), a whopping 51 point difference.
- Whiteside is also 3rd in field goal percentage this season with 63% shooting, trailing only DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard. In the rebound department, the center is 4th with 11.2 boards a game and 3rd in total rebounds with 372, ahead of star bigs such as Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Love and other.
- The Heat big man has earned his way to stardom, ranking among some of the best centers in the league. If Whiteside can keep up the dominant defensive play, he just may find himself in the All-Star game in February.