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Raising Expectations for Hassan Whiteside

The center came to Portland in the offseason with a bad rap, but his current performance is defying that reputation.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Portland Trail Blazers Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Hassan Whiteside arrived in Portland during the off-season with a reputation for being a lazy malcontent on the bench and in the locker room. NBC Sports Northwest’s Dwight Jaynes digs into how the view on Whiteside is changing after several spectacular performances on the court. Damian Lillard notes that his expectations of Whiteside are higher because of these efforts.

“I mean,” Lillard said, “when you see games like this game and the Golden State game, stuff like that – it’s almost like it’s obvious when he’s not doing it. It’s obvious when he’s not bringing it, because when he does, it’s like so obvious and it’s such a big deal for our team. So, tonight was a great game for him. A great game.”

It’s clear that Lillard understands what Whiteside needs to perform and understands how Whiteside can occasionally phone it in, though fans would prefer to see Whiteside develop consistent excellence. It’s a testament to Lillard’s leadership in the locker room that Whiteside has changed so many minds about what he is capable of.

You can read more here.