Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside has a chance to finish the season with numbers that only Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has posted.
Whiteside has an NBA-leading 251 blocks this year and is also shooting over 60% from the field. No player in NBA history besides Abdul-Jabbar has finished a season with that combination. The Los Angeles Lakers' star accomplished the feat in the 1979-80 season with 280 blocks and a .604 field goal percentage.
With only six games remaining, Whiteside should be able to keep his percentage where it needs to be. The center currently has a .613 field goal percentage, and has sat above the 60% mark for nearly the entire season. Whiteside's efficient shooting has come at times right after a highlight-reel worthy block as he dominates the court on both ends.
Whiteside has not only put himself in a position to be linked with Abdul-Jabbar, but he has improved his game in other ways too. After struggling on free-throws early into his time with Miami, Whiteside has completely turned that aspect of his game around. The 26-year old has made 64% of his free-throws this year, and has at times been even better than that.
Miami is headed to the playoffs due largely in part to the contributions of Whiteside. The center has been consistently productive all year long and has been a game-changer on many nights. Whiteside is averaging a double-double this year with over 14 points and nearly 12 rebounds a game. The big man also had a triple-double in February when he posted ten points, ten boards and ten blocks against Charlotte.
Whiteside's success could prove costly for the Heat after the season. While they enjoy his productivity now, Whiteside is set to hit the free-agent market. With his play and the lack of star centers on the market, a max contract is possible for Whiteside. It remains to be seen if the Heat will be able to retain his services.
Whiteside and the Heat will look to improve their playoff seeding on Tuesday when they host the Detroit Pistons.