Hasheem Thabeet, the UConn Huskies stud Center, was selected 2nd overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in last years NBA Draft. Coming into the draft we all knew Hasheem was limited in his offense, but experts expected his shot blocking prowess to make an immediate impact on the defensive end. After all, any player from the Big East who stands 7’3″ should be able to at least stop players from getting to the rim, right? Well, not so much.
Thabeet has been classified the biggest bust in draft history by some, eclipsing the likes of Nikoloz Tskitishvili and Darko Milicic, and has the honor of being the highest overall selection sent to the D-League. Being sent down may have served as a wake up call for Hasheem. Since returning, he’s looked more comfortable on the floor and tallied 10 points and 7 rebounds in 30 minutes against the Kings the other night. Part of the lack of production can definitely be attributed to the fact Thabeet has only been playing organized basketball for 8 years. Most lottery picks log 8 years of organized basketball before hitting puberty.
Thabeet is still a player with mountains of potential. Most draft picks this high don’t come in and change teams fortunes right away, and for us to expect more of Hasheem is probably unfair. The fact is he was selected ahead of Rookie of the Year front-runners Tyreke Evans, Steph Curry, and Brandon Jennings; all of whom would have been the starting PG for the Grizzlies this season. As rapper Ice-T once said, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.” We definitely aren’t hating on Thabeet and wish him all the best in the rest of his rookie season, although he was definitely one player who ran head first into The Rookie Wall.