Hassan Whiteside for Defensive Player of Year? 'Let's talk about it'

Dwight Jaynes
NBC Sports Northwest

The political season is upon us and the Trail Blazers' Hassan Whiteside is all set to launch his own campaign.

The "Whiteside for Defensive Player of the Year" express is ready to leave the station and make stops all over the NBA.

And why not?

Just because his team is struggling to stop its opponents doesn't mean he hasn't had a very big year in the middle for Portland.

Whiteside is averaging a league-leading 3.1 blocked shots per game and the next closest to him is Brook Lopez, with 2.5.

Is Whiteside worthy of consideration for the award? Well, he certainly believes so.

"I think so. I think so," he said Sunday night. "Gobert won it because he was leading the league in blocked shots. This is going to be my second time (leading the league). Let's talk about it."

Davis, Ben Simmons and Giannis Antetokounmpo have all been mentioned as candidates for this season's award and they all play for teams with winning records. But historically, the player who leads the league in blocked shots -- particularly if it's by a wide margin -- gets major consideration.

Rim protection is still important in this era of a long-distance shooting.

The Trail Blazers have struggled due to their injuries but Whiteside has provided their only rim protection on most nights.

"The team doesn't get the award," he said. "It's a player award. And as far as blocking shots, there isn't anybody even close."

Some might say he's blocked so many shots because his team's perimeter defense is porous -- but his block percentage -- the percentage of blocks based on his opportunities -- of 64.8 is one of the best in the league.

Whiteside is actually having a much better overall season than a lot of people know about. He's flown under the radar, in part because he plays with another superstar and also due to his team's struggles.

But he ranks 12th in ESPN's player efficiency ratings, ahead of many of the NBA's more well-known stars.

Will he win the DPOY? It's probably not likely, but as he said, "let's talk about it."

And he certainly belongs in that conversation.

Hassan Whiteside for Defensive Player of Year? 'Let's talk about it' originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

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