Whenever you’re able to draw comparisons to Bill Russell, you’re obviously doing something right in life. Boston Celtics legend Bob Cousy made such comparisons for Hassan Whiteside.
The 25-year-old essentially came out of nowhere. He was drafted in the second round of the 2010 draft by the Sacramento Kings, but he’s bounced around in the D-League on and off.
Now, he’s finally found a home in South Beach. Whiteside is averaging 11 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 22.6 minutes a game. While his sample size is small, it didn’t stop Cousy from giving him high praise.
“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.”
Cousy wasn’t done.
“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.”