January has marked what appears to be the emergence of Hassan Whiteside. The 3rd year pro from Marshall started his career as a member of the Sacramento Kings. Whiteside has only appeared in 13 games so far this young season for the Miami Heat but in the team's last 4, the Heat have gone 2-2. Whiteside has dropped 14 & 6 with 2 blocks, 11 & 10 with 5 blocks, 10 and 8 with 4 blocks. Last night he absolutely terrorized the L.A. Clippers posting a career high in points and rebounds with 23 points, 16 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks in a Heat victory.
Whiteside was thrust into the starting lineup after the Miami Heat lost Josh McRoberts to a right knee injury and Chris Bosh with a calf strain. McRoberts is likely lost for the season, and Bosh may be out until after the all-star break. The Heat got off to a rough start going 11-13 which happens to be the worst start for an Erik Spoelstra coached Miami team. What do you expect after losing King James? With LBJ gone, the Heat added McRoberts in the off-season and expected Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade to pick up the slack. Now because of injuries, the 25-year old Whiteside seems to be maturing before our very own eyes.
Whiteside has had an interesting journey back to the NBA. Only since Sept. 25, 2014, Whiteside has been signed and waived by the Memphis Grizzlies, acquired by the NBDL's Rio Grande Valley Vipers, traded to the Iowa Energy, re-signed by the Grizzlies, waived a day later, re-joined the Energy, signed by the Heat, assigned to the Sioux Falls Skyforce and recalled two days later. Only a year before this, he played for the Sichuan Blue Whales of the NBL in China, where he averaged 25.7 points, 16.6 rebounds, 5.1 blocks and 1.4 steals, was named the league's best defensive player and went undefeated in the postseason en route to a title and championship series MVP. Whiteside could have stayed overseas and tried to hone his craft, but instead decided to leave all of his success behind him and continue his childhood dream of being an NBA Player.