It’s all about Hassan Whiteside. If I had taken a survey before the year started, would you know who he is? Unless you’re a recent Thundering Herd alum (Whiteside played at Marshall) or a D-League scout, I’m guessing that’s a negative.
So who exactly is Hassan Whiteside, and how exactly did he slip through the cracks and get passed on by 29 other NBA teams?
First, if you haven’t been paying attention, Whiteside (a 7′ Center with an ungodly wingspan) has been tearing it up for the Heat. Signed back in late November, Whiteside is averaging 13.5 Points, 11.6 Rebounds and 3.3 Blocks per game in his last ten games played.
Here’s Hasaan Whiteside in action
Whiteside has without a doubt paid his dues. Selected in the second round of the 2010 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings, he spent two seasons with them before playing in China and Lebanon. Whiteside most recently was with the Memphis Grizzlies in addition to a stint in the D-League with the Iowa Energy.
Coming out of Marshall, Whiteside was considered a pretty good prospect. Draft Express has this to say about Whiteside:
Whiteside is one of the most unique talents in this draft. His ability to score from the outside at his height is incredible, he was one of the most impressive shot blockers in the NCAA last season, and shows the potential to score in multiple situations.
The freakiest measurements of all belong to Hassan Whiteside. The soon-to-be 21-year-old freshman bafflingly elected to arrive for measurements in flip-flops (a true story), which only gave him an additional inch in shoes (6-10 ½ without shoes, 6-11 ½ with)—as opposed to Cole Aldrich who gained 2 ¼ inches. With that said, he possesses one of the longest wingspans in NBA pre-draft camp history at 7-7.
Based on recent events, he could spell real trouble for the Celtics who have had fits defending talented big men down low. On Friday, the Celtics were burned by 7 footer Donatas Motiejunas to the tune of 26 points and 12 rebounds.
Luckily the Celtics won’t have to deal with Dwayne Wade, who will miss the first part of the week-long trip because of a strained hamstring. While he’s sidelined, Chris Bosh will be the go to guy on offense, with Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, and Shabazz Napier all seeing more minutes.
The Heat have won five of their last seven road games.
The Celtics (16-29) are coming off a season-worst shooting performance on Friday, hitting 35.6 percent in Friday’s 93-87 home loss to Houston. The Celts just couldn’t get it going, as the effects of a six game road trip were all too evident.
Miami and Boston last met on Dec. 21 in Miami with Boston falling in a 100-84 road defeat. Tyler Zeller led the Celtics with 22 points but has since not been a major focus on offense for the Celtics. Wade was also absent in that game. The Heat have dropped 11 of 12 regular-season matchups in Boston.
Oddsmakers have the Celtics as 3.5 point favorites. While Whiteside should dominate Sullinger and Zeller, I expect the Celtics to bounce back (and cover) at home.
Prediction: Celtics 99, Heat 93