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Tbird 2010 draft analysis #5: Hassan Whiteside

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  • Tbird 2010 draft analysis #5: Hassan Whiteside

    As the holiday weekend nears a conclusion, tonight we examine the pros and cons of the small school big man Hassan Whiteside. In previous editions of this series for 2010, we've examined Greg Monroe, Patrick Patterson, Avery Bradley, and Ed can find those profiles on other pages on this site.

    Whiteside comes from Marshall University, school many are familiar with not because of their hoops program, but because of a movie a few years ago about the tragic plane crash involving their football team that occurred back before many of us were born. The movie "We are Marshall" made many people familiar with the inspiring story that sprung from that tragedy. Marshall has long since been a small school football powerhouse, but only recently have they begun to make their mark in basketball.

    Whiteside has an intriguing personal story, having attended prep school and committing to the small West Virginia school when other programs were turned off due to his poor academic status in high school. Somehow he became eligible for the Thundering Herd, and therefore becomes a "one and done" prospect coming from Conference USA.

    being far out of the spotlight and away from the TV cameras, I had some more issues than I'd like to get video of Whiteside. But, thanks to a couple of good contacts I was able to get some helpful video to breakdown. Those people have asked to remain nameless, but since I know they will read this profile, I wanted to thank them for their help with this prospect and a few others that I will be profiling before this series is over.

    Without further ado, let's discuss the pros and cons of Hassan Whiteside.


    Somewhere, Jay Bilas is drooling, because no prospect in the history of the draft has had measurables like Hassan Whiteside. 7'0 in basketball shoes (6'10.5 without shoes for all of you who like that stat) and a monster 7'7 wingspan make Whiteside a major athletic marvel. That is an 8.5 inches gain from his actual height to his wingspan, a monster difference. Bilas will no doubt break out the adjectives on draft night trying to describe Whiteside.

    In other words, Whiteside looks like he was built in a laboratory, he is an absolute stud physically. Less than 6% body fat too, weighing in at about 227 lbs. Whiteside will need to add weight obviously, but he clearly has the frame to do so. At this point he is a stick figure, so someone is going to have to put him on a special diet, get him in the weight room, and really help him become a pro.


    Does anybody remember the movie, "Blue Chips", when Nick Nolte discovers a young Shaquille O'Neal in the middle of nowhere, totally a freak athletically but who has never been coached? That is the feeling I got watching Whiteside on tape, and no doubt is the feeling the Marshall coaches got when watching him as well.

    Whiteside is all sizzle, no steak at this point. But his athletic potential is off the charts, no question.

    As of now, Whiteside doesn't do very many things that excite you when you watch him actually play the game, so a team who falls in love with him (and somebody will) is going to have to believe they can develop him and teach him to play the right way over time. Whiteside defines the word "project" at the NBA level.

    Let's break his game down in detail.

    Offensively, as you'd expect he is very raw with his back to the basket. Particularly with footwork, Whiteside looks like a guy who struggles to know what to do and to know how to use his enormous physical gifts. He plays with little to know strength in his lower body, therefore he has no leverage in obtaining and keeping position.

    So, he ends up playing a little smaller than he actually is on offense, often ending up with turnaround jumpers instead of drop step dunks like you'd like to see. But his jumpshot is pretty impressive, as he seems to have really good form for the most part, and at this point in his life he has never really played against anyone who can even contest his shot. He holds the ball high way above his head, and seems to have a good touch.

    He doesn't project to me to be a guy who is going to play with his back to the basket and make power moves, but he is going to be able eventually to just turn and shoot over basically every player in the NBA, bar none.

    Right now, he has no clue what he is doing with the ball once he catches it, and he isn't playing without the ball well. All the things you see realy well coached and smart bigs do to establish position, you don't see him doing....he doesn't post strong, doesn't get leverage, doesn't show a target to receive a pass, doesn't set up moves, he just relies on awesome length and a pretty good touch.

    And don't waste much time looking for his passing skills. They don't exist right now. Whiteside is a black hole. Not because I think he is selfish, I just don't think he understands the game very much,as he is totally self centered when he gets the ball. Many many times on tape he should kick the ball back out, "re post" to get deeper, and get a return pass.....but you don't see that one time that I watched anyway.

    When trying to screen for people away from the ball, Whiteside isn't very good technique wise. He gets really narrow instead of wide, and defenders easily get around him. He also doesn't get very good angles on his screens in general, though to be fair many coaches don't teach that in the same way that I personally do, so in that regard he may just have been doing what was expected of him at Marshall.

    I do think he will eventually be a very good on the ball screener. For a team with a really quick and clever point guard, in time he could be a major weapon either rolling to the basket for lobs or even for stepping back for mid range jumpers. His form on catch and shoots is really really good, though he doesn't shoot that many yet.


    Defensively, he is exactly what you'd expect a super raw big guy to be, to an extreme even.

    On the plus side, he is an "Aircraft Carrier" in the paint. Gigantic long arms, tremendous leaping ability, and nice timing even make him an elite shot blocking prospect. Indeed, he led all of the NCAA in shot blocks a year ago. In fact, he is such a good shotblocker that you wonder sometimes what people were thinking when they drove at him.

    Almost all those blocks were off the ball in help though, as Whiteside excels in that situation. Like lots of immature bigs, he has an annoying habit of hunting for blocks instead of playing good fundamental defense, so he falls for alot of shot blocks, and when he does swat one he tends to knock it in the 10th row instead of keeping it in play.

    When guarding his own man, Whiteside is actually a sieve, even at the mid major level. He gets backed down easily, and plays almost no defense whatsoever until his man actually catches the ball. Teams actually attacked him with postups often on the tapes I saw as part of their game plans. Partially because his defense was poor, and partially to try and get him in foul trouble and out of the game.

    He doesn't play with his hands high either, tending to drop them when he gets fatigued. That really bothered me on tape. A long armed guy who plays with his arms hanging by his waist is borderline useless, and when he got tired, he really showed that tendency.

    As a rebounder, Whiteside has awesome length and therefore plays way above the rim. And he has the ability to cover alot of ground and get boards out his area, a very nice skill. He is so thin and weak at this point that blocking him out is rather easy, as he doesn't read balls off the rim or work to gain position, he just relies on his way above average natural gifts. He projects to be a guy who will get a few spectacular rebounds that amaze you occasionally, but who might not get that tough rebound in a big spot.

    Offensive rebounding, he can rebound and go back up to finish with dunks, but if he can't dunk it it might as well be a turnover. He won't pass it back out, and likely he will end up forcing a tough shot. He can defensive rebound pretty well, but he struggles to outlet the ball and make the fundamental 2 hand overhead pass, instead dropping it to his waist for some reason.


    Not everyone who plays basketball in college is a great student nor overly intelligent. I have read reports that Whiteside is a very poor student, and he was basically forced to go pro now or be ruled ineligible. One of my sources tells me he wonders if Whiteside might be dyslexic, though I haven't read that anywhere and it is pure and total speculation.

    Now, some great players haven't been the best students in school either. Larry Bird wasn't a great student or very sophisticated at all, and Dwayne Wade was another kid I know struggled a bit in school. So that doesn't always rule a kid out from being a pro, but you do have some concerns on the floor about Whiteside where intelligence is concerned....NBA basketball is complicated, thick playbooks, adjustments in the huddle, a brand new lifestyle, etc etc.

    A team who drafts Whiteside is going to have to understand he is a very raw, long term project who will need alot of personal development and nurturing on and off the floor. More so than anyone I have profiled so far, Whiteside needs to land in the right spot.

    I normally don't read the interviews players give at the Combine for these reports, but I did in this case. Whiteside seems a bit immature, but also somewhat engaging to me. I liked him as a person listening to him, and I think his heart is in the right place. I hope he makes it.


    If I were an NBA coach, I'd despise my team taking Whiteside. He is the type of prospect that you spend time developing, then by the time he can actually play a little and help you are fired and he is contributing to your successor. I have a feeling Jim O'Brien feels exactly the this way, and I don't blame him.

    From watching him on film, Whiteside is so incredibly raw that I just cannot see a risk averse franchise like Indiana making him their selection. If he is available, I am almost 100% sure the Pacers pass, as we don't have time for such a long term project at this point.

    The ideal place for him to land for his long term success would be Utah at #9, San Antonio at #20, Portland at #22, or maybe Oklahoma City at #21 or #26. Those are all well ran franchises in smaller cities with excellent front office staffs that have shown patience and stability.

    I know Whiteside is projected to go in the top 15 or so, strictly on potential....which I agree is substantial if he happens to reach it. A team with patience and long term vision could potentially get a very good player if they are willing to wait and invest in his development.

    Right away though, Whiteside looks like a D-league guy for his first couple of seasons.


    Comparables are tougher with Hassan Whiteside, as the league rarely sees guys with his athletic measurables and gifts, but with his downside and risk.

    If he develops perfectly, he COULD end up being a better jump shooting, longer armed Tyson Chandler....which is a player most teams would love.

    My guess though is he ends up well short of that goal, as teams these days lack the patience and long term vision to develop players and stick with them despite criticism in the media.

    Modern day comparable: Kwame Brown

    Past comparable: I can't think of one.....maybe the board can help me.

    As always, the above is just my opinion.


  • #2
    Re: Tbird 2010 draft analysis #5: Hassan Whiteside

    For anybody that cares, a couple months ago, he was projected to be next Draft's #1 overall pick (the season might have ended that way, too, but I'm not sure of that).


    • #3
      Re: Tbird 2010 draft analysis #5: Hassan Whiteside

      Yeah I think I'd have to pass. From reading what you've written (I've never seen anything other than some highlights) he reminds me of Saer Sene or Patrick O'Bryant. Long, lanky bigs that wow you with potential, but would take forever to reach it and 99% of the time don't.


      • #4
        Re: Tbird 2010 draft analysis #5: Hassan Whiteside

        Originally posted by thunderbird1245 View Post
        Comparables are tougher with Hassan Whiteside, as the league rarely sees guys with his athletic measurables and gifts, but with his downside and risk.

        If he develops perfectly, he COULD end up being a better jump shooting, longer armed Tyson Chandler....which is a player most teams would love.

        My guess though is he ends up well short of that goal, as teams these days lack the patience and long term vision to develop players and stick with them despite criticism in the media.

        Modern day comparable: Kwame Brown

        Past comparable: I can't think of one.....maybe the board can help me.

        As always, the above is just my opinion.

        He is kind of like Javale McGee.

        Production-wise I think Whiteside's first 2 years in the NBA will be similar to McGee's.


        • #5
          Re: Tbird 2010 draft analysis #5: Hassan Whiteside

          I was initially quite intrigued by this guy, but I think he might take his entire rookie contract to produce anything. Hopefully someone above us will reach with him and let someone more proven fall to us. I would use a low 1st round pick on him if we had a solid team, but we obviously can't afford to do that in Indiana. He could prove to be a good investment for stacked teams who don't need him right away. I think he's going to be selected between mid first teens to mid 20's.

          I'm hoping the Udoh analysis is coming soon. I'm interested to read that one in particular, but thanks for all of the profiles so far. I'm also interested on Tbird's take on Beldsoe, who I think would be a big reach at #10.


          • #6
            Re: Tbird 2010 draft analysis #5: Hassan Whiteside

            If I were the Pacers I wouldn't have this guy on my board anywhere for the 10th pick. He is a lot of hype due to his physical gifts but I don't think he is much of a basketball player so to speak. He isn't a very good defender (besides the shot blocking), very raw on offense (to put it nicely) and really just relies on his physical gifts to contribute anything. Not to say his gifts aren't special or rare but it isn't enough for me to think that he is a worthy prospect at 10.


            • #7
              Re: Tbird 2010 draft analysis #5: Hassan Whiteside

              What a luxury being able to have someone like tbird who not only has access to hours of tape, but also takes the time to break each player down with an impeccable knowledge for the game and share those thoughts with us.

              Thanks, tbird. Great and very helpful analysis.


              • #8
                Re: Tbird 2010 draft analysis #5: Hassan Whiteside

                I think that some Team will take a gamble on him based purely on his size, potential and atheleticsm by drafting him in the 20s.
                Ash from Army of Darkness: Good...Bad...I'm the guy with the gun.


                • #9
                  Re: Tbird 2010 draft analysis #5: Hassan Whiteside

                  Originally posted by sweabs View Post
                  What a luxury being able to have someone like tbird who not only has access to hours of tape, but also takes the time to break each player down with an impeccable knowledge for the game and share those thoughts with us.

                  Thanks, tbird. Great and very helpful analysis.


                  "Political Correctness is a doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."


                  • #10
                    Re: Tbird 2010 draft analysis #5: Hassan Whiteside



                    • #11
                      Re: Tbird 2010 draft analysis #5: Hassan Whiteside

                      Originally posted by Major Cold View Post
                      Too quote a wise man....

                      Originally posted by Kemo View Post


                      2012 PD ABA Fantasy Keeper League Champion,

                      2011 PD ABA Fantasy Keeper League Champion,

                      2006 PD ABA Fantasy League runner up,


                      • #12
                        Re: Tbird 2010 draft analysis #5: Hassan Whiteside

                        Originally posted by Major Cold View Post
                        I don't know if he would be a bust if you go him in between 20-30...those players are kind of a toss up normally. Kind of like when we took Harrison. He certainly didn't pan out, but we picked him late in the first round and given his size he was worth a shot at.

                        With Whiteside's attitude problems and immaturity that I hear about. Harrison might be the perfect player to compare him to.