It took four decades, but Bob Cousy has finally seen a player who reminds him of his old Boston Celtics teammate Bill Russell.
Cousy, 86, thinks Hassan Whiteside is a defensive terror with similar traits to the legendary Russell.
Whiteside—averaging 11.1 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 22 minutes of burn for the Miami Heat, after bouncing around the NBDL, Lebanon and China the previous four years—unexpectedly burst onto the NBA scene this season.
Cousy, who spends his winters in Florida, is so enamored with Whiteside that he thinks the C’s should do everything to acquire the big fella (an unrestricted free agent in 2016.)
Per the Worcester Telegram & Gazette:
“I have never said this in the 40 years since I retired,” Cousy said in a recent telephone interview, “but he is the first big guy, not (Patrick) Ewing, (Hakeem) Olajuwon, Shaq (O’Neal), who reminds me defensively and on the boards of Russell. He runs the floor well, he has excellent timing, he blocks shots and keeps them in play the way Russell did.”
“That’s a great honor,” Whiteside said before the Celtics hosted Miami Wednesday. “Everybody knows that Bill Russell is probably one of the best shot blockers that ever lived. That’s really a big honor that he thinks of me that way.” […] Whiteside said he doesn’t try to block too many shots because he doesn’t want to get out of position for the rebound.
“If I were Danny (Ainge),” Cousy said, “I’d offer Miami three first-round picks for Whiteside because in my judgment, and what can you tell watching on television, but boy does that kid have an upside.” […] “I don’t get excited too often about these guys,” Cousy said, “but this kid looks to me like a turn-around guy. This kid moves to every rebound, he just reacts to everything on the defensive boards and he reacts the way Russell did. He leaves his man and comes over to help. He’ll block five or six shots a game and he catches them. The league hasn’t caught up with him yet.” […] Cousy paused for a moment and added, “Maybe I’m overreacting.”