Thursday, August 14, 2008

Player Profile: Hasheem Thabeet

The Good: Hasheem had a solid season last year, improving on every stat. The most impressive by far came from the charity stripe, hitting .698 this year rather then the paltry .513 from the year before. 118 of his 346 points came from the stripe and he made teams pay when playing physical against him. He bulked up and wasn’t knocked around as much, holding his ground and pulling down 61 more boards then the year before. His incredible blocking ability let the guards play tight man to man defense, knowing that they had the flyswatter behind them.

Hasheem played with tenacity and emotion and didn’t shy away from contact, which goes against his mild mannered nature. During the middle of the season, he started dunking the ball with authority and attacking the basket, which last year he looked timid and laid the ball up. His soccer days now behind him, his feet are light years ahead of his hands. With his wide girth and fast feet defenders rarely drive on him. He is a raw talent but he has so much potential that people grade the rough draft before seeing the final product.

The Bad: Its obvious that his offensive game is sorely lacking and he is uncomfortable playing with his back to the basket. He hasn’t developed a hook shot nor a way to dribble towards the basket, he lowers the ball and makes him smaller, and hasn’t been able to develop confidence in his shooting ability. While he is a monster blocking the basketball, he wanders away from defenders, leaving them with wide open mid-range shots. He also leaves his man to early to help and creates easy buckets or put backs. He does shy away from fighting for position when rebounding, getting pushed aside by wider but smaller players.

Looking Ahead: While all his negatives are legitimate gripes, he has shown drastic improvement from one year to the next and there is no reason to doubt that he won’t become a 15 points and 10 rebound a game threat. With being more comfortable on and off the court this year, he should find the confidence in his offensive game that he lacked last year. He should be stronger and able to take the beatings they throw at big men like him. He needs to stay consistent from the free throw line, develop a hook shot, and keep his defender within arms length and he’ll have another stellar season.

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