On The Block: Examining Hassan Whiteside’s Post Dominance

Insight6 years ago5 min readNekias Duncan

The Miami HEAT took an “L” to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday. Typically, losses aren’t anything to be proud of, but in a transition year like this one, internal growth matters just as much— if not more—than the win-loss column.

Despite Dion Waiters attempting to take joy away from all of us, there were things to be proud of from that game, like Justise Winslow’s offensive versatility and Goran Dragic ripping the Spurs in transition. The biggest takeaway, literally, was the interior dominance of Hassan Whiteside.

We expect him to be a beast defensively, and he was; the Spurs only shot 4-for-13 at the rim against Whiteside, and he swatted four shots to match.

But the most impressive part of Whiteside’s game was his proficiency and patience on the block, offensively. He showed legitimate flashes of becoming a go-to guy on offense, sprinkling in hooks, drawing fouls (something he only did on 7.6 percent of his post-ups last year, via Synergy), and even hitting a turnaround jumper because #WhyNot. He finished the game with 27 points, tying his career-high.

Because his post game was so impressive—and because, despite my optimism, I still have no clue how sustainable his performance is going forward—let’s examine all of Whiteside’s post-ups from Sunday.


POST-UP #1

 

This was eerily similar to one of the post-ups Whiteside had in the Charlotte Hornets game. The HEAT cleared the left side of the floor with him, and he tried to beat his man with a spin to the baseline. Teams know that he loves the spin, and has a bit of tunnel vision. That makes it easy for teams to send timely doubles to disrupt Whiteside. Whiteside actually got slight separation from Pau Gasol, but Kawhi Leonard was there to tie him up and force the jump-ball.

POST-UP #2

 

CHECK. OUT. THAT. FOOT. WORK.

This post-up came off a scramble, but Whiteside’s decisiveness was key here. He took one hard dribble and went into his move. Dewayne Dedmon defended the initial gather fairly well, but this was one heck of a counter for Whiteside, especially considering his struggles with traveling last season.

POST-UP #3

This….was no bueno. I get the thinking here since Gasol overplayed him, but Whiteside wasn’t under control and rushed the hook. It’s worth noting that Gasol had blocked him on a hook/floater earlier in the game (wasn’t included since it wasn’t a post-up), so that may have factored into the decision to go lefty so quickly. I would’ve liked to see him fake left then go to his righty hook or, you know, pass the ball out and reset.

Baby steps, though.

POST-UP #4

Well, what do you know. He got the ball in virtually the same spot, then faked left before going to his righty hook. Sounds familiar.

Regardless, Whiteside was under control here, and got Dedmon off balance just enough to free some space for the hook. Or so he thought. Dedmon fouled him, and Whiteside split a pair of free throws.

POST-UP #5

 

Whiteside (kinda) establishes good position, takes one hard dribble, pivoted, and absolutely crushed Gasol before knocking down the baby hook off the glass. With no double coming, Gasol had no shot at containing him.

POST-UP #6

 

Not even two minutes later, Whiteside caught the ball with Gasol matched up with him again. Gasol figured Whiteside was going to spin right again, but Whiteside again countered, this time going with a fadeaway that splashed. This was probably my favorite offensive sequence from Whiteside in this game.

POST-UP #7

 

Finally, we get the hook that NBA.com’s Couper Moorhead used in his most recent HEAT article about Whiteside and Winslow. No other play displayed Whiteside’s patience quite like this one.

He received the entry pass, waited for Dragic to cut through, dribbled once, gathered, kept the ball high (!!!) and sprinkled in a jump hook over the outstretched arms of Dedmon.

Whiteside totaled nine points on seven post-up possessions by my count, good for a 1.286 points per possession (PPP) mark in the game. He’s now averaging 5.3 post-up possessions per game, up from the 2.9 he averaged last year.

If he can continue to survey the floor, and make quick decisions with the ball, he could earn more trust— and more touches—within the offense.