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Pacers 1st Round Draft Possiblities: Hassan Whiteside

Now that the NBA Draft Lottery is out of the way, it's time to start profiling the Pacers possibilities for 1st Round picks. The profiles will follow the same format as my 2nd Rounders, with a little bit more detail.

The Pacers received the 10th pick in the Lottery, but several possibilities for trading down and/or acquiring multiple picks have been floating around. For that reason I'm going to examine anyone who might help the Pacers, and then discuss within the profile any steps which might need to be taken to acquire that player.

We have just over a month until the draft, so I'll try to get a profile out every day or two. Here's who we'll be looking at today:

Hassan Whiteside - PF/C - 6' 11.5"  227lbs. - Marshall University


Ten Important Stats - Hassan Whiteside

Pts/40 Reb/40 Ast/40 Blk/40 eFG% FT% FT/40 FT/40 PF/40 PPR
20.1 13.6 0.4 8.2 53.0% 58.8% 66.7% 8.4 3.7 -6.46

Strengths -

  • Many of Whiteside's strengths are a product of his tremendous physical tools. He stands 6'11.5" in shoes, with a 7'7" wingspan. This remarkable length more than compensates for his average speed, quickness and leaping ability. The simple fact is that he is a long, mobile and athletic big man of the type which is in high demand in today's NBA.
  • Whiteside has a lot of room to develop, but is ready to contribute right away as a rebounder and shot blocker. His 8.2 Blocks per 40 minutes is the most of any college player in the last decade. He is a very strong rebounder but still relies mostly on instincts and length. As he develops his fundamentals, and learns to use body positioning better, his production should only increase in this area.
  • He doesn't have a well-developed post game in terms of consistent moves, but Whiteside is an excellent finisher around the basket. Very mobile, he projects to be a good big man in transition, and diving to the basket off the pick and roll. He is aggressive looking to score and draws a very high number of fouls. In addition to his short game, Whiteside has the potential to be an effective jump shooter. He has good shooting form, and with repetition and experience it should become an even more potent weapon.

Weaknesses -

  • As wonderful as his height and length are, Whiteside desperately needs to add strength. Despite being 6'11.5," he weighs the same as small forward Damion James and shooting guard Lance Stephenson. He easily gets pushed around on both ends of the floor. His lack of strength makes him an extremely weak individual defender, giving up deep position with a total lack of resistance. Whiteside's shot blocking can help an NBA team's overall defense, but stronger post players will exploit his one on one defense until he can bulk up.
  • As the best player on his team last season, Whiteside was encouraged to take any shot that struck his fancy. It may take him some time to adjust to his offensive role in the NBA, learning what is a good shot and what isn't. There may be a steep learning curve for him as he figures out how to use his skills to be a quality scorer, not just a quantity scorer. Whiteside also needs to significantly improve his free throw shooting.
  • His basketball IQ appears to be extremely low on the offensive end. He shot the ball almost every time he touched it, and appeared to have very little awareness of open teammates. Whiteside finished the season with a grand total of 10 assists. Granted he didn't have the strongest supporting cast, and was certainly the most talented player on his team. Still, that leaves him with a ratio of 16.7 Field Goal Attempts per Assist. No college player in the Draftexpress database had a worse ratio last season.
  • There are serious questions about Whiteside's maturity and intangibles. He barely qualified at Marshall after spending a year at prep school after high school. There have been rumors that he might not have been academically eligible to play next season if he had returned to college. Whiteside is also much older than other college freshman, and will be 21 by the time the draft rolls around. This raises concerns about his upside; although he hasn't had the benefit of three seasons of coaching, he is the same age as college juniors.

How he can help the Pacers -

  • Whiteside could bring a significant injection of athleticism to the Pacers frontline. He may not offer much production next season, but he has a higher upside than anyone currently on the roster. His size and skill set also could help him find minutes with the Pacers. In the short term he has the length to spend back-up minutes at center next season, something Hansbrough and McRoberts can't give the team. In the long term, he could end up at power forward alongside Roy Hibbert, creating a frontline with incredible length to smother shots in the paint.
  • One concern with drafting Whiteside is the lack of development from Roy Hibbert and Brandon Rush. He is far from a finished product and needs lots of work, both from physical and skill development perspectives. For whatever reason, the Pacers have struggled over the past few years to really grow their young players. This organization wouldn't appear to have the coaching and training pedigree to help him maximize his value.
  • Whiteside is projected to go anywhere from the lottery to the late 20s. The Pacers could conceivably trade down, grabbing an additional 1st Round pick and still getting Whiteside.

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