Hassan Whiteside: Time to Sell High?

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On November 24th, 2014, Pat Riley made an under the radar signing, at the time, snatching center Hassan Whiteside from the NBA Development League’s Iowa Energy. Little did Riley know at the time that the this was just the beginning of “Hassanity.”

Whiteside has been the perfect fit on the Heat roster, coming in with a chip on his shoulder, much like many of his teammates. Hassan never truly felt like he’s gotten a fair shot at playing in the league, but now with great minutes are coming great results.

Over the past month, Whiteside has made Heat losses bearable to watch for Heat fans. His put-back dunks, alley oop throw downs, and big boy rebounds have become much watch television, almost in the same vein as much watch Dwyane Wade plays.

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It however could be time for the Miami Heat to sell high on “Hassanity.” While he has been a nice revelation for the Heat franchise, you have to wonder if what he’s doing is sustainable.

Coming into this season, Whiteside had played 19 career NBA games, averaging 1.5 points and 2.1 rebounds in 5.8 minutes of action while shooting 44.4 percent from the field. While it’s fair to say he never got a real shot to shine, we are also unaware of how he performed in practices and if he actually ever did enough to earn those minutes to shine in those practices.

Now this season, with an opportunity to play, Whiteside has been blowing up. Whiteside currently is averaging 7.4 points per game, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks on 67% shooting. Extrapolate that per 36 minutes and his numbers catapult to 16.9 points, 14.6 rebounds, and 4.8 blocks. For reference, Houston’s starting center Dwight Howard averages 16.9 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game this season. Whiteside has been playing close to 16 minutes per ball game and Howard’s more than doubled that with 33 minutes per contest.

Along with those astonishing numbers, Whiteside has actually topped teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in PER numbers. Granted this is in a small sample size, Whiteside has a 26.0 PER in 15 games. Among players that have played at least 15 games, Hassanity ranks 7th among NBA player, right ahead of LeBron James‘ 25.8 mark.

Teammates Wade and Bosh come in at 24.0 (11th) and 21.4 (24th) respectively. His 26 PER is second only to DeMarcus Cousins‘ 26.8 mark among centers.

It’s hard to see Whiteside keeping up these type of numbers, matching or even outproducing some of the top players in the NBA.

That’s not to say Whiteside cannot be a good player, he very well could be. The Heat don’t need Whiteside to be a star like he has been playing like. If he can become a Roy Hibbert type player, except more efficient, the Heat would be more than happy, as they’ve haven’t had that type of production in a long time.

However, if some team comes to Riley over the next month, especially as many Western Conference teams gear up for a long playoff run, offering a butt load for the services of Whiteside, Riley needs to sell high on the 25-year old.

Being without a first round pick has devastated the Miami Heat over the past five years, even leading to LeBron bolting for a younger team in Cleveland. The Heat need to find their next Dwyane Wade in the first round, as their current Dwyane Wade begins his journey off to the sun-set in the next few years.

To find their next Wade, the Heat cannot sit back and let the player find the franchise. They need to take a proactive role in attempting to find their next franchise player. No matter how good Whiteside has been the past month, he’s not that player.

So if a team comes calling Riley with a package he cannot refuse, Riles should sell high on “Hassanity” and continue to build this franchise towards another championship run, hopefully with another franchise player the caliber of Wade.

I’m not telling Riley and Heat Nation to sell high on “Hassanity” for the sake of selling high. Riley needs to reel in the right offer and turn his diamond in the rough into a royal ransom.

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