Hassan Whiteside made a name for himself when he established himself as a defensive ace some years back with the Miami Heat. For some reason, his stock has dipped and the 30-year-old found himself lost. Now, he hopes to rebound and show everyone that he still has what it takes to be the defensive anchor for his new team – the Portland Trail Blazers.
Whiteside is one of four players that the Heat were reportedly offering on the block. The others were Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters, and James Johnson. After exercising his player option, the 2017 NBA rebounding leader was sent to Portland in a four-team trade that also involved the Los Angeles Clippers and the Philadelphia 76ers. Apparently, he was elated with the move and is now looking to help his current ballclub in its NBA title drive.
“I think you guys will really enjoy the blocks, the dunks, the rebounds, me flex’n…” says Whiteside during a Q & A session with Dan Sheldon, Dwight Jaynes, Michael Holton and Brian Noe on NBC sports northwest’s Chalk Talk. From the looks of it, he plans to recall that old form that established him as one of the league’s best rim protectors.
Whiteside is also aware of the Blazers run last season. Lacking the big men to compliment Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, there is plenty of reason to believe that Portland can improve on last NBA season’s showing.
“As far as the team, I definitely want to increase on the record from last year. This is potentially the best team I’ve ever played on talent-wise and it’s not many times you get the opportunity you get a real shot at winning the championship. So as a team, I just want to be that defensive anchor and just bring as much as I can to the team.”
If Whiteside maintains focus, the Blazers could pull off surprises in the stacked Western Conference. They do have the tools to possibly improve on last season’s showing. The 7-footer, however, needs to find a way to stay Healthy and stay out of trouble.
Last year, Whiteside was fined an undisclosed amount for making comments detrimental to the team, NBA.com reported. This was part of his frustrations on his role with the Heat where he was relegated to a reserve role after coming off a hip injury.