Hassan Whiteside arrived in Portland with a reputation as a lazy troublemaker during free agency last summer, yet as he has gained growing comfort in his role beside Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, that narrative is starting to shift, reports Jason Quick of the Athletic. A record-breaking 10 block performance against the Chicago Bulls certainly helped Whiteside’s case, but according to Quick, Whiteside has a dedicated interest in “clearing the confusion.”
“I think people have a misconception of me,” Whiteside said. “I don’t know what it is, where it is coming from, I really don’t know. But my friends, we talk about it all the time … yesterday, today, tomorrow … it’s always there.”
The team is helping with his efforts to either change or clear the air, depending on perspective. Both Lillard and McCollum seem to think Whiteside is a player who needs prompting.
“We have to stay on him,” McCollum said. “He knows when he’s doing what he is supposed to, and he knows when he is letting himself and our team down. That’s the type of relationship we have. Regardless of what people have said about him, we talk to him and we get through to him. There’s no talking back, there’s no making excuses … he’s like ‘What do I need to do for us to win?”’
Whiteside figures that is the biggest thing people don’t understand about him: He wants to win and he says he welcomes any feedback that will help him help the team. That’s why he says he hasn’t taken any of Lillard or McCollum’s words the wrong way.
Meanwhile, coach Terry Stotts has given Whiteside space to find himself in Portland.
“When new players come in here, I don’t like to have too many preconceived notions of who they are as people or players,” Stotts said. “I like to try and figure it out and have them fit in.”
You can read Quick’s piece here.