Player Projection: Hasheem Thabeet

by Jon Nichols

A few days ago I projected the NBA numbers of Blake Griffin using my Box Score Prediction System (explanation here:  Today I’m moving on to another top prospect, Hasheem Thabeet.

Thabeet is a very interesting case.  There are certain things about him that have scouts drooling: his size (he’s 7’3) and shot-blocking ability make him a force on the defensive end.  On the other hand, his offensive game has not improved considerably during his last few years at Connecticut.  He’s not young (for a prospect) anymore, yet his game is still considered very raw.  How does BSPS think he’ll do in the NBA?  Let’s take a look:

The numbers seem to agree with the common perspective: Thabeet will be a great rebounder and defender but very limited offensively.  In fact, the likelihood that he’ll get anywhere near 36 minutes a game in the NBA depends on how much he’ll be able to muster on the offensive end.  It’s great to have a defensive anchor, but if he’s hurting you just as much offensively, is it worth it?

First, let’s talk about where he’ll struggle.  7.6 points per 36 minutes is very low, and as you can see he won’t create many shots.  His free throw percentage is nothing special, and his assists are quite low as well.  1.69 turnovers doesn’t seem like a whole lot, but this projection doesn’t see him touching the ball often.  In that case, that is a high turnover rate.

Now, let’s talk about what he’ll do well.  BSPS thinks he’ll be a terrific rebounder.  He’s been good on the boards in college and 7-3 will always be 7-3.  That block rate may not lead the NBA, but it’ll still be among the very best.  The only concern will be fouls, an issue he sometimes faces at UConn.

BSPS doesn’t think there are any surprises in store from Thabeet.  He’ll be a great defender and an interior presence, but his offensive game will be limited.  Scouts have been wondering for quite a while if he’ll ever develop an offensive game.  His future as an NBA player may depend on it.





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