The NBA career of Hasheem Thabeet makes a great case study in outcomes generated from rushing talent onto the big stage too early.
There’s a reason that Thabeet was so highly touted coming out of UConn. His point total climbed from 193 as a freshman to 346 as a sophomore. Then it took another significant jump, as he posted 489 points in his junior year. The insane 118 block total from his freshman year was improved upon as well. It jumped to 147 in his sophomore year, peaking at 152 in his junior year. Even his field goal percentage was climbing steadily. It jumped from 55.4% as a freshman to 60.3% as a sophomore, peaking at 64% in his junior year.
The kid was 7’3″, went 61.1% from the court during his entire time at UConn, and had been dubbed a “paint & rim protector” by pretty much every NBA scout due to his penchant for racking up high block totals…
Then his NBA career began.
After starting 13 games for the Grizzlies in his rookie season, he was traded to the Trail Blazers the following season. The next season, all he could do was sit by as he was told he was headed to Houston to play for the Rockets. The following season saw him flying from Houston to OKC.
He finally got his first bit of playoff experience with the Thunder two seasons ago. And as we say goodbye to Thabeet, let’s review the totality of his postseason impact:
6 games played, 0 started.
1-for-2 (50%) shooting.
6 rebounds (1 off, 5 def).
11 personal fouls.
And as he was set to make $1.25 million on his contract, he was threatening to put the Thunder over the salary cap and force the ownership to shell out a luxury tax if they needed to add help later on (due to injuries). To avoid this, he was traded to the 76ers along with additional cash to sweeten the deal. In return, the Thunder received a protected 2nd round pick and a trade exception.
As I’m not an accountant, I’m not condoning, nor chastising this move. Presti has turned the Thunder into a perennial NBA Championship contender. Who would I be to question his moves? He seems to know full well what he’s doing, and what he wants. As far as I’m concerned:
IN PRESTI I TRUST