As part of our draft coverage, we are profiling wings and big men the Celtics might be interested in with the 19th pick. Next up is Hassan Whiteside, a center from Marshall. We made these profiles using our own personal knowledge of the prospects combined with research from numerous sites, including NBADraft.net and Draft Express.
Draft Express projection: 23rd pick NBADraft.net: 21st pick
Another one of those “upside” guys, Hassan Whiteside’s physical tools make NBA general managers salivate. Measuring in at 6’11 1/2″ despite being measured in sandals (most players are measured in thicker basketball shoes), Whiteside also possesses a 7’7″ wingspan that makes him one of the longest prospects to ever enter the NBA.
Only a freshman at Marshall this past season, Whiteside put up some very good numbers despite playing only 26 minutes per game: 13.1 points, 8.9 rebounds and an astounding 5.4 blocks per game. Those 5.4 blocks per game led the nation.
Marshall isn’t on television often, so I didn’t get to see much of Whiteside’s game, but in the highlights I looked at he looks a lot like Marcus Camby. From his very slight frame, to the terrific timing on weakside blocks, to the high release point on his solid midrange jumper, Whiteside looks like a Camby clone on the court. Whiteside shows some solid offensive skills, including a reliable midrange jumper (with range that occasionally extended to the college three-point arc) and good finishing ability, but remains an unfinished product on that side of the floor. He also has the makings of a nice hook shot and good touch around the hoop.
On the defensive end of the floor Whiteside is an absolutely elite shot-blocker, especially from the weakside. According to Draft Express, though, Whiteside struggles when defending his own man:
“His main issue revolves around his extremely underdeveloped frame, which hinders him on the offensive end, but more importantly makes him a constant target for post-up plays and renders him an exceptionally poor man to man defender against average college big men. Whiteside gives up deep position in the post with the greatest of ease–seemingly not even fighting back at times– getting out of his stance quickly, bringing his hands down, and downright giving up on plays, thinking he’ll simply be able to recover and come up with a block, which at this level can indeed be the case on occasion.”
Regardless of Whiteside’s weaknesses, which also include what Draft Express labeled a sometimes immature attitude, his potential makes him one of the most intriguing prospects in the draft. With his uber-long body and the framework of a potentially decent offensive game, as well as good shot-blocking timing, Whiteside could go anywhere from the middle of the lottery to late in the first round.
Compared to Solomon Alabi, I’d rather have Whiteside. He’s a far more fluid athlete and possesses the makings of a better offensive game. The problem is, neither is ready to play good minutes right away. And, considering that Kendrick Perkins will likely be injured to start next season and Rasheed Wallace is probably retiring, the Celtics will need immediate help in the frontcourt next season.