A Look Into Hassan Whiteside's Monster Triple-Double
There seems to be a recurring theme when it comes to Hassan Whiteside. It's one of development, improvement and surprise.
If I had to choose one word to best summarize this theme it would be better. That's what comes to mind when I think about Whiteside's journey from NBA D-Leaguer in December of 2014 to NBA breakout performer in 2015-16.
Once again, Whiteside's play has demanded us to say, "He's even better."
In last night's game (which the Heat somehow lost by 12 points) against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Whiteside amassed a monster triple-double with 22 points, 14 rebounds and 10 blocks in 34 minutes of action.
After looking into the historical context of that stat line, just how ridiculous was his performance?
According to Basketball Reference, from 1985-86 to present, there have been 54 other triple-doubles of the 10 point, 10 rebound and 10 block variety. Of those 54, 25 were 20-10-10 games. It's at this point that we start to see how great of an individual performance this is, because the most common names that appear on this list are all-time greats David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Dikembe Mutombo.
That's great but Whiteside's night goes a step further. There have been a mere 14 other 22, 14 and 10 games in the last 30 years. He's the third to do it since 1998 and the first to do so since Joakim Noah in 2013.
And there's this:
Hassan Whiteside (17-13-10) is only active player w/ multiple career triple-doubles of the pts-reb-blk variety. It's his 77th career game.
— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) November 18, 2015
But again, Whiteside does us one better. The only other player to post the same line and shoot 70% from the floor was Mutombo. Whiteside is the only one to do so while shooting better than 70% from the floor.
In tallying his 22 points, Whiteside shot 10 of 14 (71.4%) from the floor -- counteracting his poor night at the line, as he finished 2 for 9 from the charity stripe.
And he did all this against star rookie Karl-Anthony Towns, who has earned a Defensive Rating of 101 while blocking 2.2 shots per game in his own right. In other words, he's a really good defender -- just not good enough.
On the other end of the floor, fellow rookie and teammate Nemanja Bjelica learned the hard way.
Like the rookie, we also learned a few things last night.
With last night's spectacular performance, Whiteside proved yet again that he's even better than we thought and that, with some potential and a lot of hard work, a player can go from the D-League to the top of the A-League. And even into the history books.