If it was in the 2009 draft Hassan Whiteside could give Hasheem Thabeet a run for his money. A legit 7-footer who has a wingspan of 7-foot-7 and an outstanding reach of 9-foot-5 with an imposing defensive presence and a tremendous leaping ability, Memphis wouldn’t have second thoughts in signing him all the way to number 2. But unfortunately this is not 2009 and Hassan had to wait for hours before he hears his name called out all the way to the second round, pick 33 by the Sacramento Kings. NBA teams have learned their lesson well. They wouldn’t draft someone who resembles more like Thabeet who was a disappointment throughout his rookie season. It’s hard to see top draft rookies going to the D-league and they hope Thabeet would be the first and the last one to get that feat.
But it was no denying Hassan’s very own potentials. He is one of the unique talents in the draft and teams failed to notice it. How come nobody gambled on someone with a vertical reach at 12.5 foot and a leaping ability of 31.5-inch vertical jump with only 5.5 percent body fat? He has speed like a power forward and he has more offensive moves with a nice touch from midrange and was the most impressive shot blockers in the NCAA last season.
The Sacramento Kings didn’t mind having three centers in their roster with newly signed Samuel Dalembert and their number 5 pick Demarcus Cousins. They just knew it was luck that leads them to Hassan. The luck that they just couldn’t figure out why with all the upside Hassan has still went this far off in the draft. It may have been that he was still raw or he was too risky to sign but I think it has to do with Thabeet drafted in 2009. Everybody put high expectations on Hasheem that when he failed to show off his potentials with a center filled roster of the Grizzlies with Gasol, Hamed Haddadi, Steven Hunter and Darko Milicic at that time. There was no room for errors and there was minimal toleration for mistakes for a young and raw center like Thabeet. Hassan has full of promises but with all the big three in Miami and free agency hoopla it’s just hard to risk anything at that time.
Summer league and the Kings have come out the winner so far in the draft with Cousins showing his athletic ability and Hassan with his defensive prowess. It’s still too early to say “I said so” but I got an inkling feeling that Hassan would rightfully fit right into the NBA. The good thing about it is he is just focus on playing with no frustrations, no expectations…everything to gain and nothing to lose.
Hassan never wanted to be on top, he was never been the top center in 2009 who is rank only 19 and was only the number 87 recruit in rivalshoop.com on that class and he never intended to be the best center in the NBA either. He just wants the chance to prove himself… and redemption starts where nobody expects him to succeed. “To be a star, you must shine your own light, follow your own path, and don’t worry about the darkness, for that is when the stars shine brightest “.