Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pick of the Litter: T-Wolves Draft Prospects

Hassan Whiteside

While there is plenty of competition at the Center position, Hassan Whiteside tops our list as the best Center in the 2010 NBA Draft. The Marshall big man enters the Draft after finishing what was the most dominate performance by a freshman since Michael Beasley at Kansas State in the 2007-08 season. Beasley dominated the scoring column during his only season with K-State while Whiteside's stats were more impressive across the board. To call him a stat stuffer would be an understatement as he recorded 3 triple doubles in points, rebounds, & blocks (he also had games were he ended having a double double with 9 & 8 blocks on the side).

Needless to say Whiteside possesses natural shot blocking abilities that are a combination of his great anticipation and freakish 7'7" wingspan (tied with Shaq for 3rd longest in past 20 years). Aside from his potential as the anchor of a teams defense, he also has an offensive game that is quite diverse and well developed.

His size and athleticism alone made him an instant force playing the post in Conference USA. If a body was not placed on him while in the post he would consistently collect the offensive boards followed up by letting the BEAST OUT on the unsuspecting rims with his Monster put backs. While his freakish length allows him to catch any ball lobed up near the basket for and easy layup or ally-00p, he is also able to effectively shoot the mid-range jump shot.

His jump shot has a very fluid motion to it, lacking the usual hitches that most big men have. He gets set using the B.E.E.F. fundamentals, keeping his body straight as he elevates for the shot (most bigs shoot more of a set shot). Getting this type of elevation makes blocking his shot nearly impossible given how long he already is.

Whiteside is very comfortable with his jump shot, which he showed this year taking and knocking down the occasional turn around jumper a la his idol Kevin Garnett. He even finished the season shooting .600 % from the 3-point line which measures 20.9 ft in college compared to 23.9 ft in the NBA (but relax he was only 3-5). None the less his 15- 18 ft jumper should translate immediately to the pros. Defenders shouldn't be mistaken if Whiteside is left open he will knock down the shot.

While his shooting is very exceptional for any player his size, his shooting form (see picture above & to the left) is a little unorthodox. Its clear to see that his left hand (guide hand) is holding the top of the ball instead of being placed on the the left side on the ball (Ray Allen pic). Its obvious no one expects the same type of shooting results in Whiteside that have made Ray Allen an All-Star player. Still I believe that pro coaches will work with him to try and get him to move his guide hand down do the side of the ball.

Combine Measurements

While making player evaluations it is helpful to have current player comparisons in terms of size and athleticism. These comparable measurements allow us to help envision what types of advantages and/or disadvantages a player might have at the NBA level. Strengths/weaknesses that may not be apparent through studying game film. As well as giving GMs a way to determine who is the better fit between two players based on the smallest margin of an athleticism grade.

*Note all measurements and data below were taken during the NBA Combine before a month before the players were drafted. So these represent where each player was physically when entering the league.

As you can see in the chart above, Whiteside measures out nearly identical as 5 time NBA All-Star Chris Bosh in both height and weight. The only exception being that Whiteside has a wingspan long enough to land planes on. Although at this point he is listed at the same weight Bosh was as a rookie, it appears that Whiteside possess a frame that will able to take on more weight as he matures. Which would only benefit him as a Center having to go up against big bodied interior players on a nightly bases who weigh in the neighborhood of 250 lbs.

Once again Whiteside and Bosh test favorably by both having equal sprit times and nearly equal lane agility scores. While the sprinting test is more important for guards the lane agility test is much more informative. As it measures a players lateral quickness which is very important for man on man defense. The old saying goes "your only as good as who you can guard" In that case Whiteside should excel in the league because while his agility is not elite (Noah got 11.79) it is still a good score for most PFs. The most encouraging category of the list are his 12 bench reps, this shows that while thin he is deceptively strong.

Whiteside Vs. Bosh(2003): They both attack the rim, can stretch the floor and shoot with rang, good rebounders. Whiteside is a better Shot Blocker & overall defender, more active on offensive boards, stronger & longer. Bosh had better handles and a more developed post game.


Code said...

We may just have the same story line if we are able to draft Whiteside.

Just Imagine Whiteside replacing Bosh in Bosh's Video and KG in place of Carter!

Castor said...

From what I see, Hassan Whiteside will be a bust!!!!! Sorry but playing in Conference USA, aka barbie girl basketball confederation, leads to stats inflation. Anyone can go and get 10 blocks on middle-school kids and shoot a 28.5 basketball into an oversized basket.

He is worth a flyer by the Wolves' 3rd first round pick but definitely not as good a pick with their 2nd. The Wolves should focus on trying to trade K-Love or Albus away and get KG back in a Wolves uniform before he actually retires!!!