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Hassan Whiteside Named ESPN’s Top Defender for the Second Straight Month
- Updated: March 2, 2016
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.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 1, 2016
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.