Only two NBA players dating back to the 1975-76 season have averaged 20 points, 13 rebounds, and four blocks in a season: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Hakeem Olajuwon (twice), per Basketball Reference.
Hassan Whiteside, the Miami Heat’s near-$100 million man, is poised to become the third player to enter that exclusive club, becoming its first new member in 25 years.
While the 20-13-4 club is technically just a party of two — the NBA didn’t start officially tracking blocks until the 1973–74 season — it’s a good bet at least a handful of pre-1973 bigs would’ve qualified.
Some will say the prediction is madness. They’ll call me a homer. Yet those naysayers need to realize the 7-footer bequeathed to Pat Riley from the basketball gods in 2014 wasn’t far off from the 20-13-4 club last season, averaging 14.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 3.8 blocks in 29.1 minutes of action.
With Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, and Luol Deng leaving town, the Heat will need their young, talented (and filthy rich) big man to play more. They’ll also need him to score more.
Last year’s numbers, when Hassan was rarely, if ever, the primary option offensively, prorated over 36 minutes equate to averages of 17.6 points, 14.7 rebounds, and 4.6 blocks, meaning he would’ve blown the rusting doors off the 20-13-4 club if he sustained his production while playing just seven more minutes and attempting a mere two more shots (13.6 attempts).
Now whether his elite numbers translate to wins can still be up for debate, but he’s going to get his numbers.
Even if Dion Waiters goes full-blown Michael Beasley, Whiteside is a safe bet to increase his attempts to the 15-plus neighborhood. Wade, Johnson, and Deng combined for 36 attempts last season, leaving Goran Dragic, Justise Winslow, and Whiteside as the primary benefactors.
Pending good health and a further willingness to improve, not only is the big fella’s 2K rating about to skyrocket, but he could feasibly slip into a realm occupied by two of the greatest centers in NBA history.