This offseason, the Miami Heat made a $98 million commitment to Hassan Whiteside, and he has repaid the franchise by producing at a rate that has not been seen since the 1970s.
Whiteside enters Wednesday night’s game against the Detroit Pistons averaging 18.8 points, 15.9 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game over the course of Miami’s first 13 games. If he were to sustain that pace, he would join Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1975-76) and Elvin Hayes (1973-74) as the only players to average those number in a season. Making the feat even more impressive is the fact that Whiteside is posting those number while playing 33.2 minutes per game, significantly lower than Abdul-Jabbar and Hayes, who each averaged over 40 minutes per game.
Whiteside has also had several individual game performances this season that showcase his ability to do things on a basketball court that few others can do. On Nov. 10, Whiteside scored 20 points, grabbed 20 rebounds and blocked three shots, something that has only been achieved six times before in Heat history, five times by Rony Seikaly and once by Alonzo Mourning.
On Monday in Philadelphia, Whiteside joined Mourning as the only players in franchise history to record at least 32 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks on at least 68 percent shooting. He is also the only player in franchise history to record at least 23 points, 17 rebounds and two blocks on at least 81 percent shooting in a game, a feat he has accomplished three times, most recently on Nov. 14 against the Spurs. The only other NBA players to post that single-game stat line are Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon and Tim Duncan.
Besides how he stacks up historically, Whiteside has also put up impressive numbers as compared to his current competition. According to ESPN’s Hollinger Statistics, Whiteside is 11th in the NBA in Player Efficiency Rating, 14th in Value Added, 13th in Estimated Wins Added, second in Rebound Rate and sixth in Offensive Rebound Rate. Those rankings become even more impressive when you consider that he ranks 65th in Usage Rate, according to Basketball Reference.
Though the season is still young, Whiteside has been able to do things no other big men have done in decades. And for the Heat, that glimpse of the past may just signal a bright future.