They’ve called him a dud, overrated, and even brought out the U-G-L-Y chant, but what people don’t understand is that Thabeet is a game changer. Sure he’s blown dunks and hasn’t been blocking the basketball like he did in college, but he’s getting his feet and game used to the 3-second rule and NBA style of play. He’s said that he hasn’t even touched his defensive game yet in practice and has focused solely on his offensive.
So Memphis fans who haven’t seen much of Thabeet, here is what you are getting. A player that can anchor a defense: He has the knack of playing his man but protecting the weak side with his help defense. A soft touch: He is going to be an excellent free throw shooter in his NBA career. Every year he has improved from the stripe and there is no reason why that won’t improve. He is also developing an 15-foot jumper that will space out the floor and make the lanes necessary for your talented wings and guards.
Thabeet’s contributions aren’t visible in the stat sheets. They are seen in low percentage floaters and off balanced jumpers. They are seen in dishes out of the paint and over the backs. It is amazing to see the dud status placed on Hasheem before he gets himself situated in a legitimate defensive scheme. There is little to none defense played in the Summer League and with teams thrown together to play in a handful of games, there is no chemistry to allow Thabeet to showcase his true skills.
Now there are many legitimate gripes that Thabeet most work on other then his anemic offense. He must rebound with more authority and limit his turnovers, but a healthy dose of perspective needs to be applied when looking at Thabeet’s summer league debut. He’s not going to 'Wow' the league in year one, but with experience, he will turn into a top five NBA center. Just hold off on your dud classification before he plays in a real game.