In 2016, Jazz center Rudy Gobert tweeted, “You can have good stats but hurt your team… numbers do lie sometimes. #onlypeoplethatknowthegameunderstandthat.” Fellow Frenchman Evan Fournier replied, “Blancoté ?? lool”
Everyone assumed the friends were talking about Hassan Whiteside.
After all, “Blanc” means “white” and “coté” means “side” in French. Plus, there were major questions about how Whiteside’s production with the Heat actually influenced winning.
Whiteside never escaped those questions. Despite his successes, he just didn’t contribute quite as much his traditional stats would suggest. After completing his rags-to-riches story by becoming the first player to go from a minimum salary one season to a max salary the next and even starting strong on his big deal, Whiteside fell back to a minimum salary with the Kings last year.
Now, he’s joining Gobert in Utah, seemingly again for the minimum.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Free agent C Hassan Whiteside has agreed to a deal with the Utah Jazz, @excelbasketball agent Sean Kennedy tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 4, 2021
Rudy Gay is a strong fit with the mid-level exception. He provides helpful depth at forward can play small-ball center in certain matchups. But Utah needed a bigger backup to Gobert, too.
That’s Whiteside. He’s a good finisher, and he has a little touch near the basket. He blocks shots and grabs rebounds, though his defense could be more effective. Left to the minimum to feel a need, the Jazz do alright with Whiteside.
Sacramento has plenty of centers.