A loud splash.
Let’s say that one day you woke up because you heard a loud splash. Normally when a person hears a splash it’s because they just fell into a body of water like a pool or an ocean. Let’s say that this time instead of hearing someone enjoy themselves in the water, you woke up and you found yourself in the middle of an ocean and you didn’t know how to swim. What would you do?
It’s simple, you’ve been given two options at this point you can either choose to sink or swim. Would you fight until your last breath was gone in order to stay afloat, or would you just quit?
Last season in Miami there was no other player that made a bigger splash in the NBA than Hassan Whiteside. This year he’s making sure that he’s making an even larger splashing sound for the rest of the entire NBA world to hear.
“Man, you talking to a dude who was out the league at the YMCA two years ago. That’s who you talking to right now.”
– Hassan Whiteside
What’s been a true blessing to see is the way that Whiteside has grown as a player.
With only 106 games played as an NBA player, it’s easy to say that Whiteside already is one of the candidates for the Most Improved Player of the Year award. It’s also insane how he was playing in the YMCA less than two years before impacting the NBA the way he has. Instead of sinking with his dreams, Whiteside has worked hard enough to stay afloat in the league, and now he’s on his way to becoming an All-Star in the league.
Whiteside played against the Denver Nuggets and created yet another game-changing effort defensively which propelled Miami to snap their three-game losing streak winning the contest 98-95. Whiteside finished with a triple-double as he had 19 points, 17 rebounds, and 11 blocked shots in 38 minutes of game action.
— NBA (@NBA) January 16, 2016
““I see a lot of NBA players getting triple doubles with assists. Ain’t nobody doing it with blocks,” Whiteside said. “I hope the fans enjoyed it.”
– Hassan Whiteside
Two important stats to remember is that this was the third triple-double Whiteside has had since joining the Heat last year. Additionally, in the last 20 years Whiteside along with Marcus Camby and Shawn Bradley, is tied for the most triple-double with blocks. It’s also only taken Whiteside only 106 games to accomplish the feat which is almost one-ninth as many games as Camby, and about one-sixth as many games as Bradley.
Triple-Doubles With Blocks – Last 3 Seasons
Hassan Whiteside 3
All Others 0
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 16, 2016
What’s remarkable about Whiteside is that he’s putting up efficient performances in spite of not getting a lot of consistent playing time. When you think about most great players in the league, or centers they average around 34 minutes a game. Meanwhile, Whiteside is averaging 29.2 minutes a night and is giving Miami a double-double and a league-leading four blocked shots per night.
People are quick to get upset about the offense with the Heat and blame Whiteside but everyone knows that’s not his game yet. Being an interior presence is the strength of his game and when he’s on his game there’s not much anyone can do to stop him. In the second half alone against Denver, Whiteside had 10 points, 12 rebounds, and seven blocks in 20 minutes. Miami came back from a 16-point halftime deficit and held Denver to 33 points in the second half.
“When Hassan is absolutely locked in, not only from a focus standpoint but a multiple effort standpoint, it absolutely changes the complexion of our defense. Again, maybe not the triple-double but that’s the standard. That’s now what has to be expected because we’re reliant on those kind of efforts.”
– Erik Spoelstra
After his performance in Denver, Whiteside yet posted another strong game against the Oklahoma City Thunder as he finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocked shots. At the end of the day, people can talk about small ball lineups all they want. Having a dominant center is more coveted than a versatile lineup, Miami needs to make sure that Whiteside gets enough playing time to dominate.
Better yet, they ought to start pushing the campaign of his All-Star status because they’ve got someone they can build around for the future.
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter @DJoumbarey.