He calls himself Hasheem, The Dream. Well, that is at least what his twitter name is (@HasheemTheDream). However, as humble as he is off the court, Hasheem Thabeet has been busy becoming a real force on the court and not just because of his hair. The appreciation from the Thunder faithful came to a climax last night as Thabeet came back to the Thunder bench after having the being ejected and having it rescinded.
The 7’3″, 25 year old, Thabeet was picked up in July as on a league minimum contract. Many didn’t even expect him to see important minutes behind project center Cole Aldrich. He appeared in some preseason games and really looked lost. Could have been the system or the lack of cohesiveness with the line ups. However, still didn’t look it was a good pick up, even for a minimum contract. Then came the Cole Aldrich trade. (Yes, we’re calling it that for this topic).
With Aldrich in Houston, coach Scott Brooks and Sam Presti talked about the growth of Thabeet and hopefully he would become a viable back up for Kendrick Perkins. Thabeet struggled in his first game this year versus the Spurs. However, that’s guarding NBA future Hall of Famer, Tim Duncan. However, his next couple of games he really found his footing and it’s starting to show. What’s interesting is to see the games where he doesn’t get very many minutes, Oklahoma City has either struggled, or lost.
Through 14 games Thabeet is shooting 80 percent from the floor. He’s had a double-double and has hit three games in double digits. Nick Collison has mentioned that Thabeet has been getting to spots and running the plays properly. His basketball IQ is growing game by game. Basically, the Thunder told Thabeet, we’re not going to pay you to stand around anymore. That was the other teams. Not here.
The message has been loud and clear and you can see him working hard to defend on the block, not to mention when he gets the ball, he’s scoring. He’s providing a solid back up for Perkins. However, do not expect him to ever over take Perkins at the starting position. We’ve learned that Brooks finds something and he won’t adjust from it.
It’s a little ironic. There were a lot of people who wanted Oklahoma City to take Thabeet over Harden in the 2009 NBA Draft. They got their chance. I think he’s proving his ability though. With players like Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant leading the way, they’re keeping Thabeet in line. He’s in the best shape, since joining the league. He’s still has tons of upside and Oklahoma City seems to be able to maximize this so far. Bright future for Thabeet here in Oklahoma City.