Free Agent Hassan Whiteside Snubbed For an All-NBA Team
By Ian Smith
The All-NBA teams were announced, and the voters look like they did a very good job of picking players who were worthy of distinction. However, the one omission that puzzled me was that of Hassan Whiteside.
Whiteside is a free agent this year, and I’ve written before about how the Spurs would be wise to think about signing him with the cap space they have. His numbers are impressive, and he’d likely be joining the Spurs with a huge chip on his shoulder from this blatant snub.
With Tim Duncan possibly retiring, an acquisition like Whiteside would go a long way in bolstering the Spurs’ frontcourt.
LaMarcus Aldridge and Whiteside paired together in the post would instantly keep the Spurs as championship contenders next season.
The case for Whiteside making one of the All-NBA Teams is strong, and the Spurs can use some of their available cap space to bring in one of the most dynamic centers in basketball.
I compiled a ballot of my First Team, Second Team, and Third Team selections well before the results were announced, and my picks ended up corresponding fairly accurately with the selections.
More for my personal preference, I sought to pick both a point guard and shooting guard as well as a small forward and power forward for each team, and not just lumping guards and forwards together.
The only team I didn’t follow that rule on was the First Team, because I convinced myself that LeBron James could be a power forward alongside Kawhi Leonard at small forward. Due to this restriction I put myself under, I ended up overvaluing shooting guards and undervaluing point guards.
Russell Westbrook made my Second Team as a point guard, but actually made the All-NBA First Team alongside Stephen Curry as another guard, and I don’t have a problem with this. Westbrook was the second best guard in the NBA this year.
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My Third Team point guard Chris Paul ends up being elevated to the All-NBA Second Team as a result, which again isn’t a problem.
I picked Leonard and James as my First Team forwards, and Kevin Durant and Draymond Green as my two Second Team forwards. The NBA voters agreed with me on both counts.
My Third Team forwards were Paul George and Paul Millsap. The actual All-NBA Third Team was George and LaMarcus Aldridge. Although I thought Millsap deserved the spot more than Aldridge, it’s not a major disagreement. Aldridge had a terrific season.
The hardest position for me to evaluate was center, and it’s reflective in the results from the league. My First Team center was Hassan Whiteside, and he didn’t make any of the teams.
DeAndre Jordan got the nod on the All-NBA First Team. He was on my Second Team. DeMarcus Cousins made the All-NBA Second Team. He was on my Third Team.
Had Whiteside followed the pattern of showing up on the All-NBA Third Team, I wouldn’t be so confused. The spot ended up going to Andre Drummond, however.
I acknowledged in my previous ballots that I felt bad about leaving Drummond off any of my teams, but I concluded that he was probably the 4th best center in the NBA last year and didn’t deserve a selection.
Whiteside not showing up on any of the All-NBA teams is bizarre. All 4 of the guys mentioned are great centers, but Whiteside isn’t the worst of the bunch.
I looked at how they ranked amongst each other in numerous categories. Points per game: Cousins, Drummond, Whiteside, Jordan. Rebounds per game: Drummond, Jordan, Whiteside, Cousins.
Blocks per game: Whiteside, Jordan, Cousins, Drummond. Player Efficiency Rating: Whiteside, Cousins, Drummond, Jordan. Value Added: Whiteside, Cousins, Drummond, Jordan.
Estimated Wins Added: Whiteside, Cousins, Drummond, Jordan. Offensive Real-Plus Minus: Cousins, Jordan, Drummond, Whiteside.
Defensive Real-Plus Minus: Jordan, Cousins, Drummond, Whiteside. Real Plus-Minus: Cousins, Jordan, Drummond, Whiteside.
Real Plus-Minus WINS: Jordan, Cousins, Drummond, Whiteside. Offensive Rating: Jordan, Whiteside, and Cousins and Drummond tied.
Defensive Rating: Whiteside, Jordan, Drummond, Cousins. Offensive Win Shares: Jordan, Whiteside, Cousins, Drummond.
Defensive Win Shares: Jordan, Drummond, Whiteside, Cousins. Win Shares: Jordan, Whiteside, Drummond, Cousins.
Box Plus/Minus: Jordan, Cousins, Whiteside, Drummond. Offensive Box Plus/Minus: Cousins, Jordan, Whiteside, Drummond.
Defensive Box Plus/Minus: Jordan, Whiteside, and Drummond and Cousins tied. Value Over Replacement Player: Jordan, Cousins, Whiteside, Drummond.
Those are 19 categories, and a pretty thorough representation of their production and value. What I did was give the winner of each category 4 points, the second place finisher 3, third place finisher 2, and last place finisher 1.
In the event of a tie, both players got the number corresponding to the spot they were tied for. Theoretically, the center who finished with the lowest amount of points should be the one that’s left off of an All-NBA Team.
Jordan finished with 58 points in my test. Cousins finished with 49 points. Whiteside finished with 48 points. Drummond finished with 37 points.
Clearly I overrated Whiteside by putting him on my First Team. The numbers say that Jordan deserves that spot. Cousins is worthy of his Second Team selection, as well. However, Drummond’s numbers aren’t as solid as Whiteside’s over a vast array of metrics.
I messed up the order of what teams I put my centers on, but Whiteside definitely deserves the All-NBA Third Team center spot more than Drummond.
With the Spurs having the cap room available to go after a big free agent and needing a new starting center if Tim Duncan decides to retire, the Spurs should look at trying to bring aboard an interior player with All-NBA numbers like Whiteside.
I may have overrated him on my ballot originally, but the NBA voters have certainly underrated him in the actual results.
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Not all deserving players get to make the final cut, and it appears like Whiteside is one of the more obvious exclusions from the competitive selection process. Maybe he can make an All-NBA Team next season as a member of the San Antonio Spurs.