Miami Heat have a real star in Hassan Whiteside

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Football News

You would be forgiven if you did not know who Hassan Whiteside was before the turn of the year - but if you still do not know who he is, where have you been for the past month?

The 25-year-old has now become a well-known name around the league after a remarkable start to the year for the Miami Heat, setting numerous NBA records along the way.

Whiteside’s breakout game came against the L.A Clippers - one of the teams that he tried out for - when he finished with 23 points, 16 rebounds and a couple of blocks.

His performance turned a lot of heads and people started to notice the big man, as if the 7ft giant was not big enough.

The Miami centre then followed up that monster game with a triple-double in Chicago against the Bulls. However, it was not conventional as he had 14 points, 13 rebounds and a franchise-record 12 blocks - remarkable numbers for someone who has been back in the league for a few weeks. 

“Dwyane (Wade) told me - ‘block everything,” said Whiteside after the Chicago win

Well travelled

The 25-year-old’s career path may not have gone to plan since he was selected as the 33rd overall pick in the 2010 draft by the Sacramento Kings. His time in Sacramento was a disaster and an injury hit campaign forced the big man to spend time in the D-League before being waived in 2012.

From 2012-2014, Whiteside was playing basketball all over the world, from China to Lebanon. During his time overseas, he was named the Defensive Player of the Year and Centre of the Year - proving his potential to perform on the court.

The Memphis Grizzlies had Whiteside on their radar whilst he was overseas and signed him last year, before waiving him almost straight away.

Then it all clicked. Miami took a gamble on the centre and he has not looked back. The Heat currently sit eighth in the Eastern Conference with a record of 21-28 after their loss at the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.

Record breaker

Whiteside finished with 24 points and 20 rebounds in the game - making him the first Heat player to have a 20-20 game since Shaquille O’Neal in 2004.

The big man offers Miami so much on both ends of the floor. His defensive capabilities are there for all to see but his scoring ability takes pressure off All-Stars Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.

When LeBron was at the Heat, Bosh was forced to play as a centre which did not always suit his game. However, now Whiteside is in the starting five, the ex-Toronto star can focus on playing the power-forward role - which was dramatically boosted his scoring.

Bosh is currently averaging 21.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2 assists per game - all of which are the highest they have been since joining Miami in 2010.

Whiteside also offers the big man attacking threat, something which the Heat have lacked for years. He can be used in the pick and roll to create space for the shooter or used as an alley-oop target if the shot-clock is running down and a set play has not quite gone to plan.

One doubt about Whiteside was his post-up abilities, but the 7 footer has an impressive post game and has shown he can throw up a hook shot as well as a little fadeaway like the famous Dirk Nowitzki.

Miami may not be the Heat of old in the LeBron era, but Whiteside is a valuable addition and can help them climb the ladder again - even if he is only in it to boost his NBA 2K rating.

Miami Heat
Southeast Division
Eastern Conference
Sacramento Kings
Pacific Division
Western Conference

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