17. Jazz Center Hassan Whiteside

Oct 3, 2021, 11:38 AM
Utah Jazz center Hassan Whiteside (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)...
Utah Jazz center Hassan Whiteside (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz open their season on October 20, just 17 days from today. With the clock ticking, we look at 50 things for Jazz fans to be excited about leading up to the 2021-22 NBA season. Coming in at number 17, Jazz center Hassan Whiteside.

Jazz Center Hassan Whiteside

Hassan Whiteside signing with the Jazz was one of the more surprising moves of the NBA offseason. The 10-year NBA veteran was coming off a down season with the Sacramento Kings and had held a rivalry with Jazz star Rudy Gobert dating back several years.

To top it off, the center’s casual attitude and sometimes lack of attention to detail on the floor aren’t exactly the calling cards of coach Quin Snyder’s laser-focus approach.

Yet, coming out of the team’s media day early last week, it was the way the two polar opposites complemented one another that may just give fans hope that the odd-couple marriage can work.

“I thought he was going to be a super strict, angry guy,” Whiteside said the occasionally intense Snyder. “He gave me a phone call and he was like, ‘You don’t got to call me coach, call me Q.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, who is this guy? This guy is smooth-talking, I like this guy.’”

Snyder, meanwhile, noted Whiteside’s sense of humor as a potential positive on the team.

“I think [with] Hassan, there’s a levity,” Snyder said. “Hassan has got a great sense of humor.”

If the pairing can work, it would be a strong, affordable fix to replace Derrick Favors who was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the offseason. If it doesn’t, the Jazz could find themselves back where they were during the 2019-20 season, looking for a suitable backup, which caused them to overspend on Favors last season.

Despite the questions, Snyder clearly believes there’s a role for Whiteside on the roster.

“I felt strongly when I talked to him that it would be a really good fit for him,” Snyder said. ” I think he’s feeling that even in a short period of time, just the way we play. I think there’s a way to coach him that will help him, too.”

Fans will get their first true look at Whiteside in a Jazz uniform tomorrow night when the team makes their preseason debut in San Antonio.

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