After getting ejected from a game just before NBA All-Star Weekend and hearing his name floated in various trade rumors, Whiteside has averaged 21.7 points, 18.0 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks on 63-percent shooting in the three games since — all off the bench.
The game appears to be finally slowing down for the enigmatic seven-footer. He’s showing more patience as a rim protector and playing sharper fundamental defense versus racking up as many blocks as possible. Both his screen-setting and shooting touch are improving, hitting 65 percent of his hook shots in February (48% on season) and 53 percent of jumpers between 8 and 16 feet (43% on season), per NBA.com.
Heat legend Alonzo Mourning has taken notice.
“If you look at him from November to now he’s made tremendous strides,” Zo said on Hochman, Crowder and Krantz. “So I’m very proud of him and I tell him that on a regular basis. I treat him like he’s my son. I know that the sky is the limit for his potential and I try to provide words of encouragement as much as I can because I don’t think he’s really scratched the surface as it pertains to his potential.”
Thinking about Hassan not even scratching the surface of his potential is frightening and only serves to heighten the intrigue of the most polarizing talent in the Association.
Listen to the excellent interview here.
Note: The stats from above were counting all games through 2/26/16.