Hassan Whiteside Named ESPN’s Top Defender for the Second Straight Month

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Hassan Whiteside may be a bench player, but that doesn’t mean he’s still not a damn good defender.

According to ESPN, Whiteside was the Stats and Info Defensive Player of the Month for February. It marks the second straight month that the Miami Heat center has been bestowed with the honor.

There were numerous candidates, including Andre Drummond, Nerlens Noel, DeAndre Jordan, Al Horford and Paul Millsap. However, ESPN Stats and Info gave Whiteside the accolade due to the fact that the Heat’s defense allows fewer points per 100 possessions with him on the court:

“Just as he did in each of the first three months, Whiteside again led the NBA in blocks in February. And in keeping with January’s theme, Miami’s defense was again more stout with Whiteside on the court, allowing 98.9 points per 100 possessions compared with 103.8 points per 100 possessions with him off the court.”

ESPN also mentions Whiteside’s superb ability of defending near the rim:

“Whereas Drummond enjoyed a slight edge in defensive rebounding, Whiteside’s rim protection is the trump card for February. Whiteside allowed opponents to shoot 41 percent at the rim compared with 52 percent for Drummond. The Heat center did it while contesting 10.8 attempts per game, which ranked second in the NBA, despite playing less than 28 minutes a night. On a per 36-minute basis, Whiteside contested more than five more shots at the rim than Drummond.”

While there has been a lot of negative talk surrounding the 26-year-old center due to his impending free agency and immaturity issues, it’s hard to deny his impact on the Heat when these statistics are presented.
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D.J. Siddiqi grew up in the heart of South Florida in Broward County. Growing up in South Florida during the late 90's and 2000's, D.J. witnessed the Pat Riley years where the Miami Heat faced off with the New York Knicks all the way to the painful late 2000's seasons where the Heat were a one-man team with Dwyane Wade. D.J. has closely followed the Heat over the past decade-and-a-half, and unfortunately witnessed Game 2 of the 2011 NBA Finals in person when the Dallas Mavericks overcame a 15-point deficit to knock off the Heat. D.J. has writing experience as a columnist with sites such as Bleacher Report and Rant Sports, and he is proud to bring his knowledge of the Heat and the NBA to Heat Nation.