14. Hassan Whiteside
Hassan Whiteside, also known as “Count Blockula,” “Agent Block,” and “The Great Wall of Whiteside,” is a 7’, 265 lb. center from Gastonia, North Carolina. Born on June 13th, 1989, he was a selection of the Sacramento Kings in the second round of the 2010 NBA Draft, 33rd overall.
Whiteside appeared for one season of college ball, with the Marshall Thundering Herd. In 34 contests, he averaged 13.1 points and 8.9 rebounds while playing 26.1 minutes per game.
As a rookie in the 2010-11 campaign, Whiteside played a total of two minutes for the Kings, spending most of his time with the Reno Bighorns in the NBA D-League. Despite the reduced level of play, Whiteside was limited to 10.6 minutes per game, in which he scored 4.4 points with 2.7 rebounds and an almost prophetic 2.1 blocks per game. That’s 7.3 blocks per 36 minutes, for those of you counting. He got into 18 games for the Kings the following season, along with 11 with Reno.
Whiteside embarked on a basketball odyssey following his time with the Kings, who waived him on July 16th, 2012. Over the following two seasons, he spanned the globe and played with the Amchit Club (Lebanon), the Sichuan Blue Whales (China), Al Mouttahed Tripoli (Lebanon), and Jiansu Tongxi Monkey King (China). On September 25th, 2014, he signed on with the Memphis Grizzlies, but didn’t make it through training camp. He later signed an emergency contract to fill their bench on November 19th, but was waived one day later. Just after that, he inked a deal with the Heat for $769,881.
Whiteside played in 48 games for Miami through the 2014-15 season, starting 32 times, leading the Heat to an 18-30 record (the Heat went 19-15 without him), and finishing with 22 double-doubles. He had nine games of 15 or more rebounds, including four 20-rebound performances. On January 11th, in a 104-90 win against the Los Angeles Clippers, he scored 23 points with 16 rebounds off the bench, along with two blocks and two steals.
Whiteside woke up the Sportcenter-consuming public outside of the South Florida area on January 25th, when, in a 96-84 win against the Chicago Bulls, he scored 14 points with 13 rebounds and 12 blocked shots in just 24 minutes. On February 4th, in a 102-101 loss to the dismal Minnesota Timberwolves, he shot 12-for-13 from the field for 24 points, with 20 rebounds, three steals and two rejections. In his final appearance of the season, a 100-93 win against the Orlando Magic on April 13th, Whiteside put up 24 points with 13 rebounds and five blocks, one of five times he turned the trick in his “rookie” season for Miami.
Whiteside’s “per-game” statistics had him ranked near the top of the team with 11.8 points (fifth) while placing first on the club with 10.0 rebounds and with 2.6 blocks. His 2.6 block-per-game average would have placed him in second in the NBA if he had played more games, behind Anthony Davis’ 2.9 with the New Orleans Pelicans. He also ranked just outside of Miami’s top five with 1,142 minutes on the floor, six minutes short of Norris Cole.
Whiteside shot .628 from the field, which also would have ranked him second in the NBA (the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan finished at .710). He collected 482 total rebounds, over 100 more than second place Luol Deng (who played in 24 more games). His 123 blocked shots were more than double Chris Andersen’s 61. Andersen played 10 fewer minutes than Whiteside for the season.
In the 2015-16 season, Whiteside led the NBA with 3.7 blocks per game, with an NBA-leading 269 blocks, an NBA-third .606 field goal percentage, an NBA-third 11.8 rebounds, an NBA-best 94.5 defensive rating, an NBA-seventh .233 Win Shares/48 minutes, an NBA-seventh 25.7 PER, an NBA-best 9.7 block percentage, and his first selection (hopefully of many) as All-Defensive NBA second team.
Whiteside’s cumulative production is even more impressive when you consider he played in 73 games and averaged 29.1 minutes per game. For comparison, second place DeAndre Jordan recorded 94 fewer blocks in 473 fewer minutes on the floor. Whiteside averaged 14.2 points for the Heat.
The Heat posted a 42-31 record with Whiteside in the mix, and went 6-3 when he sat. Whiteside scored in double-figures 53 times, collected 10 or more rebounds 53 times, and recorded five or more blocks on 22 occasions. In all that time, he never assisted on more than two field goals in a game.
On January 19th, in a 91-79 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, Whiteside scored 23 points on eight-of-nine shooting with 18 rebounds. On February 20th, he came off the bench for 25 points in 29 minutes, with 23 rebounds and a pair of blocks as the Heat defeated the Washington Wizards, 114-94. Whiteside continued his mastery in games against the Bulls on March 1st, helping the Heat to a 129-111 win with 26 points, 14 rebounds, and four blocks. On March 25th, he made 10-of-15 shots for 26 points, with a dozen rebounds and five blocks to help Miami win over the Magic, 108-97.
Whiteside got his first taste of postseason action with the Heat at the close of the regular season against the Charlotte Hornets. He was best in Miami’s game one, 123-91 victory, when he scored 21 points on nine-of-11 shooting with 11 rebounds, three blocks, and a pair of steals. He ended up averaging 12.0 points with 10.9 boards and 2.8 blocks in 10 postseason games, shooting an NBA-best .681 from the field.
In 2016-17, Whiteside ranked second on the team with 77 games on the court, while leading the team with 2,513 minutes played. He shot .557 from the field and .628 from the foul stripe. He led the NBA with 14.1 rebounds per game while placing fourth in the Association with 2.1 blocks per night. His 17.0 points per game ranked second on the Heat behind Goran Dragic’s 20.3 average, and he also dished out 0.7 assists and swiped 0.7 steals per game.
The Heat went 39-38 with Whiteside playing, and 2-3 when he didn’t He racked up 58 double-doubles, a Heat record, including 66 double digit games and 62 times with 10 or more rebounds. He collected 15 or more on 37 occasions, and blocked five or more shots four times.
On October 30th, in a 106-99 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, Whiteside scored 27 points with 15 rebounds and four blocks. In a 99-92 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on December 3rd, he went 12-of-16 from the floor to lead the Heat with a game-high 28 points, along with 16 rebounds and five blocked shots. In a two-overtime, 136-130 loss to the Orlando Magic on December 20th, Whiteside scored 32 points with 15 rebounds and five blocks. Going by GameScore, his best game of the season was on February 4th, when he scored 30 points on 14-of-17 shooting with 20 rebounds and three blocks as the Heat downed the Philadelphia 76ers, 125-102.
Entering this season, Whiteside will be in the second year of a four-year, $98 million contract, with a player option in 2019-2020.