Hassan Whiteside Assigned to D-League's Reno Bighorns
Whiteside, the 33rd overall selection in this year's NBA Draft by the Kings, has appeared in just one game for the Kings this season, picking up two fouls in less than two minutes in a 117-116 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. The 7-foot center should see much more playing time with the Bighorns, though he joins a talented cast that includes Kings training camp invites Marcus Landry and Donald Sloan as well as Nick Fazekas, Patrick Ewing Jr., Aaron Miles and D.J. Strawberry, all of whom are considered to be on the cusp of making an NBA roster.
Whiteside is the type of player that should certainly benefit from a D-League assignment as he has a ridiculous amount of upside but will need playing time to reach that potential as he is a bit on the raw side right now.
"He's disappointed, but we explained to him that it's not a demotion, it's because we think so highly of him. We want him to have a chance to play," Westphal told the media after practice Monday. "I think it's a really good opportunity for him. That's what the D-league is for. We are very high on Hassan's potential but he needs experience. That's what we said when we drafted him and that's where he is right now."
Whiteside entered the draft after just one year at Marshall, capitalizing on a season in which he averaged 13.1 points, 8.9 rebounds and an astounding 5.4 blocks.
He played in the mid-major Conference USA, however, and NBA scouts worried what his statistics might have been had he played a full season in one of the power NCAA conferences.
The most interesting dynamic of this assignment may be that the Kings were open to assigning one of their up-and-coming players to the Musselman-led Bighorns, the coach that the Sacramento let go after coaching the Kings to a 33-49 record during the 2006-07 season.
Whiteside will join the 4-0 Bighorns prior to the team's game against the Idaho Stampede on Wednesday.