When San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, many fans were left wondering why Hassan Whiteside, the shot-blocking king of the Miami Heat, had been overlooked.
Whiteside, who led the league in blocked shots with 3.68 per game—far more than No. 2, Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (2.30 BPG)—fell behind not only Leonard but also Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors in votes. For Whiteside, what else is new?
“I mean, I’m used to not getting credit for what I do,” said Hassan when asked about the outcome. “I mean, I’m not surprised. Let one of them guys get 10-plus steals in a game, you all would be outraged. The world would stop.”
Leonard and Green won’t be doing that anytime soon. Nor will anyone else, most likely. Whiteside, however, has been known to put up double-digit blocks on a good night.
Despite having the highest Defensive Rating, an advanced stat, in the league this season, Whiteside only received two first place votes, and one of those came from Heat play-by-play broadcaster Eric Reid. Whiteside’s three triple-doubles of points, rebounds, and blocks just weren’t enough to win over the media, who only advanced the game towards the death of the center with their decision.
“I got overlooked for All-Star, got overlooked for this. I get overlooked a lot. I got overlooked for tryouts. I’m used to being overlooked.”
At least there’s still the Sixth Man award, right?
“I won’t win that.”
Jamal Crawford did.
“I won’t win nothing. I’ll probably never win any of that. I don’t win awards. I never get any credit for anything I do. It is what it is, bro.”
Whiteside has a point, but Leonard also has a strong case for the award. Of course, the Spurs did much better than the Heat, which may have influenced the vote more than it should have.
But cheer up, Hassan. I’m sure you’ll win something someday!