Every team in the NBA had a chance at Hassan Whiteside. Now that he’s playing and playing well for the Miami Heat, Whiteside is not bashful about telling the rest of the league that they made a mistake:
Hassan Whiteside, on all the teams that cut him or passed up a chance to sign him: "They know. They know they messed up."
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) April 14, 2016
If anyone has earned the right to have a chip on his shoulder, it’s Whiteside, whose journey to NBA stardom really is unlike any that we’ve ever seen.
He was taken in the second round of the 2010 NBA draft by the Sacramento Kings and went between the Kings and their D-League affiliate, the Reno Bighorns, for the next two seasons.
After being waived by the Kings, Whiteside played for the D-League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce and Rio Grande Valley Vipers, then went overseas to play for Amchit Club (Lebanon), Sichuan Blue Whales (China), Al Mouttahed Tripoli (Lebanon), and Jiangsu Tongxi (China).
After returning to the USA, he still went between the D-League’s Iowa Energy and again the Sioux Falls Skyforce before finally settling in with Miami.
If we look hard enough, we may be able to find a few international stars that have similar paths to the NBA, but it’d be hard to find anyone with such a completely circuitous route.
There literally isn’t one NBA team, including the Heat, that didn’t pass on Hassan Whiteside multiple times. The good news for all of those teams is that they’re going to have a chance to rectify their mistakes.
Whiteside is set to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. While he’s very well traveled, Whiteside is not old, as he’ll turn 27 over the summer.
So whatever team signs him can expect a few more good seasons from him. Snce becoming a permanent fixture in Miami, Whiteside has averaged 13.3 points, 11.1 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game.
He’s on a short list of the best centers in the NBA, putting himself in an incredibly elite group during the 2015-16 season:
Hassan Whiteside is the first player to have 250 blocks and shoot 60% in a single season since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. pic.twitter.com/nlTCgFrfbH
— Heat Nation (@HeatNationCom) April 6, 2016
In addition to earning the right to have a chip on his shoulder, Whiteside has also earned the right to a big money contract.
So while any team can theoretically sign him, it won’t be cheap for anyone.