What Can We Expect From Hassan Whiteside in 2015-16?
The Miami Heat didn't have much go right for them in the 2014-15 season.
Not much good came of this combination. They did get Goran Dragic and gave him a five-year, $90-million deal, which was well-deserved. But the team also experienced the surprising emergence of Hassan Whiteside.
With Bosh out, Whiteside had himself quite the breakout season in the Sunshine State. The 26-year-old center contributed 11.8 points per game and led the team in both rebounds (10.0) and blocks (2.6) per game. Those two numbers not only led the Heat but also, if Whiteside met the games played requirement, would have placed him 11th and second in the league, respectively.
That's impressive, but what makes that even more impressive is that Whiteside did his work in just 23.8 minutes per contest. When you put his per-36 numbers up against that of Anthony Davis -- the Brow himself -- this is what they look like.
|Per-36||Points||Rebounds||Offensive Rebounds||Defensive Rebounds||Blocks|
Davis trumps Whiteside when it comes to points per 36 minutes, but the Heat big bests Brow in every other category. He actually pulled down more defensive rebounds than Davis did total rebounds in 36 minutes of play.
So the Heat would go big a lot with Whiteside and a healthy Bosh right? Maybe -- I mean, I thought so when I took a look at the Heat as title contenders just a month ago.
But maybe not.
A recent interview with Heat assistant coach Dan Craig revealed the Heat's intention to run the big man around 20-25 minutes per game. How could that affect Whiteside's numbers and his impact on his team and your fantasy squad?
Big Man Numbers
As for the impact this might have on Whiteside's dominant 2014-15 numbers, it shouldn't be much. As I said above, he played about the same minutes per game (23.8) last year.
Here is how Whiteside fared in games in which he played between 20 and 25 minutes compared to games in which he played more than 25 minutes.
|20 to 25||22.9||62.0%||11.4||9.2||3.7||4.0||0.925|
|More than 25||31.7||62.6%||16.1||14.3||2.9||2.7||1.074|
In nine games in which Whiteside played 20 to 25 minutes, he shot nearly the exact same percentage from the floor as he did in the 23 games he played 25-plus minutes. The noticeable difference is in the volume of points and rebounds that come along with playing more minutes.
Another takeaway is that Whiteside was often in foul trouble when he played 20 to 25 minutes, which of course could have been why he failed to surpass 25 minutes in some of the contests. His blocks per game were almost a whole block more than when he saw increased minutes, but those blocks were accompanied by a multitude fouls that ultimately outnumbered the blocks.
So if Whiteside, as expected, plays just 20 to 25 minutes per game, he could still be a productive player -- particularly with blocks. If he can be more aggressive as a shot-blocker and risk more fouls in shorter minutes, he could still produce an elite number of blocks. But how would it influence his team's performance?
In the nine games Whiteside played 20 to 25 minutes the Heat were 4-5 a year ago. In comparison, the Heat went 11-12 in the 23 games Whiteside played more than 25 minutes.
So, there really wasn't any correlation when it came to Whiteside's minutes and the Heat's victories. On the bright side, Whiteside finished the season with a nERD of 6.1 -- 26th among all players and 10th among true centers.
This year, there is no doubt that things will be different. With a healthy Bosh, a not-so-overworked Wade and a full season of Dragic, we could see even clearer the value of Whiteside and how the amount of minutes he's allotted could affect the team.
According to basketballmonster.com, Whiteside finished 22nd among all NBA centers and 96th overall in total value (based on Yahoo's standard nine-category scoring). However, if we look at it from a per game standpoint, Whiteside jumps all the way up to seventh among centers and 34th among all NBA players. To go even a step further, Whiteside was the third most valuable center on a per-36 minute basis behind only DeMarcus Cousins and Al Horford.
So, over the course of a full season Whiteside should be a top-10 center for fantasy purposes regardless of his minutes. The tricky part will be determining where Whiteside should be picked based on the minutes he's going to receive.
He could, like the per-36 rankings suggest, be a top three to five center and a third-round selection if given 30-plus minutes a night. He could also go around the fourth round based on his shorter minutes per game from a year ago, especially when stacked up against healthy center-eligible players who missed time last year.
Only time will tell us exactly what the Heat plan to do with Whiteside this year and how he'll impact the Heat as well as your fantasy team. If this past season was any indication, it doesn't matter how many minutes Whiteside plays. He'll produce points, numbers and blocks in bunches while playing a very efficient game. We should expect more of the same in the upcoming NBA season.
And with this confidence, we might be in store for even more.
— Hassan Whiteside (@youngwhiteside) August 26, 2015