Hassan Whiteside had lottery talent, but he fell to the Kings in the second round of the 2010 NBA draft amid concerns about his coachability and inflated perception of his own value.
He spent the next two years in Sacramento proving his critics correct.
After just 19 games and 111 NBA minutes, he fell out of the league. He had stops in the D-League and overseas, getting some sniffs from NBA teams, but nothing came from them.
Then, the Heat signed Whiteside in November, and he’s taking advantage of the opportunity. In his last six games, he’s averaging 13.8 points on 71.7 percent shooting, 10.2 rebounds and 3.5 blocks in just 24.1 minutes.
His best game in the stretch came against the Clippers, when he had 23 points and 16 rebounds and was +27 in a 14-point win. Afterward, Whiteside was pretty blunt about Clippers coach Doc Rivers motiving him (hat tip: James Herbert of CBSSports.com):
I got a chip on my shoulder. I mean, every team in the NBA said no to me – especially this team. I mean, I couldn’t even get a training-camp invite. The Clippers thought it was a good idea. Doc said no. I tried to get a workout, then Doc said no.
You better believe Whiteside is pumped for Miami’s next game, against the Kings tomorrow.
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:
The Kings’ coach when they waived Whiteside? Keith Smart – the same Keith Smart who’s now an assistant in Miami.
That’s a little awkward, and frankly, Whiteside’s success is surely due in part to an attitude adjustment. He was never going to succeed in the NBA with his initial approach.
But I absolutely love Whiteside taking names and kicking ass. The league could use more players who are so open with what drives them. If his own assistant coach is collateral damage, so be it.