(Video of Hassan flexing and selling cars with Jason Thompson courtesy of Cowbell Kingdom and Folsom Lake Ford.)
Sacramento Kings rookie Hassan Whiteside has a lot more upside than most second-round draft picks. A true seven-footer, Whiteside has great athleticism for a guy his size and a 7-7 wingspan, both of which helped him average an absurd 5.4 blocks in only 26 minutes per game at Marshall.
In Las Vegas, Whiteside’s showed flashes of immense talent — he made impossible blocks look easy, he finished strong when he got the chance, and he has a surprisingly good outside touch for a center.
The only reasons Whiteside fell into the second round were his lack of offensive polish, his slight frame, and some serious questions about his attitude and commitment.
Well, Whitside is freaking huge now. According to Zach Harper of Cowbell Kingdom, Whiteside has put on 25 pounds since Summer League, and there’s definitely a visible change in his physique. Whiteside weighed 235 pounds at the draft combine — if he’s a legit 260-pounder now, it will be very hard for opponents to bully him under the basket and negate his length and athleticism.
The better news for Kings fans might be this: Whiteside was committed enough and willing to work hard enough to put on that much muscle in a matter of months. If he was willing to work that hard in the off-season, he may be much more mature and serious about basketball than he was initially believed to be. It’s still very early, but the Kings may have snagged a great big man prospect in each round of the 2010 draft.