As it turns out, Hasheem Thabeet’s stint in the NBA Developmental League was pretty short. As our D-League blog Ridiculous Upside first reported, the No. 2 pick in the 2009 draft was called back up to the Grizzlies today after just six games in the D-League.
The news was confirmed by Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears.
Thabeet averaged 13.8 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.17 blocks per game while shooting 50 percent from the floor in 32 minutes a game. However, Ridiculous Upside’s Scott Schroeder was not very impressed with his play.
Defensively is a whole other ball game. He wasn’t nearly as great as I assumed he would be on the defensive end in the D-League. This isn’t to say he’s a bad defender (his 3.2 blocks per game and numerous shot alterations certainly would say the opposite), but he’s much better as a help defender or in a zone defense than actually playing man-to-man defense. Unfortunately, I don’t see all many NBA teams using a zone defense for entire games, so he has a bit of catching up to do in this area. He’s also a bit too eager to block shots, meaning he’ll leave his man wide open when somebody penetrates the lane which is counterproductive if the penetrator is able to make the easy pass. He also seemed to nailed to the low post, which was exploited best by Michael Fey in Sunday’s game – Fey was able to shoot essentially uncontested free-throw line jumpers with Thabeet standing under the basket.
Rebounding is the area that I’m worried about most. Simply put, he relies too much on his size and length instead of actually boxing out or being proactive by getting up to get the rebound. Obviously this plan wasn’t terribly ineffective in the D-League as he was able to average double figures in the category, but it is a bit discouraging and honestly struck me as one of the signs that he might just be lazy.
The only other area of his game that I didn’t hit on above is his focus. At times while he was out on the court, it seemed he was either totally disinterested or forgot he was playing basketball. It could have just been because he was playing in the D-League, but it wasn’t really an encouraging sign. He also missed a start due to “being late” according to an interview with White, which isn’t encouraging.
Schroeder did have some good things to say about Thabeet, but those shortcomings are not good signs for his development.
For more on Thabeet’s D-League stint, check out the Hasheem Thabeet Tha-Blog section of Ridiculous Upside, which includes extensive breakdowns of each of Thabeet’s games.