Tuesday September 13th, 2016

Hassan Whiteside, still, makes no sense at all. In a way, his career mirrors a good murder mystery, where the plot only gets more confusing as the various clues accumulate. Go ahead, play Sherlock Holmes and considering the following: He ranked No. 7 in the NBA in Player Efficiency Ranking—and yet was moved to the bench for half of the season. He posted the NBA’s best individual defensive rating—and yet Miami’s team defensive numbers barely budged when he was on the court. He graded out as a strong scoring option in virtually every Synergy category—and yet he only took nine shots a game for a team whose offense ranked outside the top 10. And his immaturity and selfishness were regular points of internal criticism that became public—and yet when push came to shove the team that knows him best wasted no time forking over a $98 million contract. These strange circumstances, apparent contradictions and downright weirdness raise many of the same questions that loomed over Whiteside (14.2 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 3.7 BPG) before last season. His numbers and advanced stats are enormous, but is he an irreplaceable piece on a winning organization? Is he capable of stepping into a leading role and a position of authority? Can you count on him, night in and night out, for 82 games, especially now that he’s not playing for a contract? And, perhaps most importantly, why are these questions still being asked of a 27-year-old? With the Heat needing to rely on him more heavily now than ever, perhaps this season will shed some clarifying light on Whiteside’s true value. Then again maybe not. (Last year: No. 69)

+ He led the NBA in blocks and defensive rating last season
+ Joined Marcus Camby as the only players in the last decade to average at least 11 RPG and 3 BPG 
– The Heat will pay him $22.1 million in 2016-17, which amounts to 22.5 times more than his 2015-16 salary
– Averaged one assist per 93.8 minutes over his career, and never registered more than two in a game

 

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