Breaking down Hasheem Thabeet

Thabeet can certainly finish strong inside, but his offensive game needs a lot of work.

Thabeet can certainly finish strong inside, but his offensive game needs a lot of work.

UConn coach Jim Calhoun has certainly seen some terrific college players, so his comments regarding Hasheem Thabeet last month speak volumes about the 7’3″ center’s talent.

Calhoun called Thabeet “one of the most dominant defensive players in the history of college basketball.” And, after averaging 4.2 blocks per game during his three seasons in at UConn, it’s difficult to argue that statement.

TTT presents a look at Hasheem Thabeet’s NBA future:

Strengths

Excellent size, obviously. Has a huge wingspan, able to block shots with either hand. A fantastic help defender, loves to roam the paint looking for shot blocks. Big hands, improved upper-body strength. Has learned to finish strong as his career has progressed. Still very raw offensively, but has clearly improved. Has become a decent free throw shooter and continues to work on a hook shot. Good athlete for his size, has good footwork and explosion.

Weaknesses

Has only played truly organized basketball for five years, so his offensive game is still very raw. Has big hands, but not always able to secure the ball in traffic. Often gets knocked around by stronger players, needs to improve his balance and lower-body strength. Not a great one-on-one defender. Effort is inconsistent at times. Doesn’t appear to be in great shape, often appeared to tire in physical games. Rarely fights for position on offensive end, struggles against double-teams.

Breakdown

DraftExpress.com projects Thabeet as the third overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft. He will almost certainly go in the top-five, and would especially help the Kings (who wouldn’t) and Thunder. Although he has certainly improved throughout his career, I wish I knew more about his work ethic. What I do know is his effort was inconsistent at times.

He should be a good pro for years, and could be an All-Star if he lands with the right team and works to improve.

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