SLAMonline Mock Draft: Hassan Whiteside, No. 20
Spurs begin the search for the heir apparent to Duncan.
Tim Duncan, is this guy for real?
I mean, come on, he’s an ageless wonder.
Seemingly, that is.
Duncan defied the odds during the ‘09-10 season, essentially proving that Father Time’s got nothing on him. He was as durable as they come, playing 31-plus minutes a night while shooting 51.9 from the field and netting a respectable 72.5 clip from the free-throw line over the course of a 78-game regular season stint.
Can’t forget to mention the fact that Timmy averaged 17.9 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.5 blocks per game.
That’s getting it done. Straight up.
Keep in mind, we’re talking about a cat that’s been in the League for what seems like forever, 13 years, to be exact. Hard to believe.
But when looking closer at last season’s numbers, you notice his stats, across the board, were down a bit from his career averages.
The decline was expected, of course.
At some point, it happens to everyone.
Don’t think, not even for a split second, that the Spurs brass isn’t mildly concerned. Duncan, after all, has endured plenty of wear and tear over the years while protecting the paint in San Antonio. Protecting the Alamo, if you will.
Now is as good a time as any to start thinking about the future, time to begin formulating a back up plan to eventually replace the irreplaceable cagey vet. Let’s keep it real, Duncan is going to call it career sooner rather than later.
Might as well prepare for the inevitable.
And with the 20th pick in the 2010 SLAMonline Mock Draft, the San Antonio Spurs select…
Hassan Whiteside from Marshall University.
With Duncan on the downside of his career, Greg Popovich & Co. can consider this pick as insurance policy, of sorts.
An insurance pick with plenty of upside.
In fact, the Spurs should consider themselves lucky that Whiteside is still around at this stage of the game. Once he slipped, the selection was a no-brainer. A done deal. Mail it in. Signed, sealed and delivered.
Think about it, Matt Bonner isn’t the answer underneath the basket for the Spurs.
The same can be said about the effective, but aging Antonio McDyess.
As for Ian Mahinmi, inexperience continues to hold him back.
DeJuan Blair certainly has the heart, no one disputes that notion. But size matters in the NBA. Unfortunately, Blair doesn’t always measure up.
Given time, and the proper tutelage, Whiteside could end up being the answer in the middle for San Antonio. At the very least, a part of the long-term solution.
In the meantime, the Spurs get a whole lot younger with 20-year old in the mix. And while Duncan casts a large shadow, to be sure, learning from the best power forward the game’s ever seen certainly won’t hurt the rookie’s development.
Make no mistake, the Spurs had other options with the 20th pick.
Kentucky’s Daniel Orton was still on the board and would have been a nice fit in the San Antonio frontcourt. A colleague of mine, Jacob H. Pollon, said it best: “Orton is the sexy pick for the Spurs. You can’t go wrong with the kid.”
Florida State’s Solomon Alabi was still available.
Another intriguing prospect was European Kevin Seraphin.
Ultimately, however, Whiteside was too good to pass up.
He’s a legit 7-footer, 230-plus pounds, with a freakish 7-7 wingspan. And Whiteside is extremely agile for his size, an attribute that allows him to crash the boards with reckless abandon and alter shots, seemingly at will.
Offensively, his game is a bit raw. Then again, San Antonio doesn’t need him to come in right away and score, not with Duncan in the lineup.
The only thing the Spurs need from Whiteside is for him to be an attentive understudy. Face it, the pupil can learn plenty from his teacher.
No one does it better than Duncan. No one.
The hope is that Whiteside will be the heir apparent.
|2010 SLAMonline Mock Draft|
|1||Washington||John Wall||16||Minnesota||Damion James|
|2||Philadelphia||Evan Turner||17||Chicago||James Anderson|
|3||New Jersey||Derrick Favors||18||Miami||Avery Bradley|
|4||Minnesota||DeMarcus Cousins||19||Boston||Jordan Crawford|
|5||Sacramento||Greg Monroe||20||San Antonio||Hassan Whiteside|
|6||Golden State||Wesley Johnson||21||OKC|
|8||L.A. Clippers||Al-Farouq Aminu||23||Minnesota|
|11||New Orleans||Gordon Hayward||26||OKC|
|12||Memphis||Luke Babbitt||27||New Jersey|