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Hassan Whiteside: “I Wanted to Come Here for Years”

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Whiteside spoke about his desire to help the team improve on defense, on how he looks forward to playing alongside Zach Collins, and

2019 Las Vegas Summer League - Portland Trail Blazers v Oklahoma City Thunder Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazer Hassan Whiteside, acquired in the offseason, spoke to the press during the annual media day, where he was asked about his fit with the team, about Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, and how he will play alongside Zach Collins.

  • Whiteside said he was surprised at the high level playmaking of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, especially their passing.
  • As to what he contributes to the team, Whiteside mentioned the “urgent need” at center, and that he looks to bring some toughness in the paint alongside shot-blocking.
  • Regarding the team, Whiteside stated that his new teammates are great guys, with a close bond already, and that everyone is buying in and working hard. He said he has been here since August 15th, the first day he was allowed to come play with coaches.
  • On the biggest adjustment he has had to make, he focused on Stotts’ flow offense and learning the plays, noting that, “It’s not really a play call...It’s just reads out of motion and flow, and I’m really liking it.” He said that Stotts’ offense means that he can get the ball more and focus on being a playmaker instead of just catching lobs in the middle.
  • Whiteside said that one of his goals is for the team to be top 10 in defense.
  • On Zach Collins: “He is a phenomenal shot blocker...even if he gets dunked on, he keeps going, keeps jumping...it wears on guys.” He said that Collins is the best shot blocker he has played alongside, so he is looking forward to how the paint looks like with the two of them on defense.
  • He has already socialized with both Lillard and McCollum outside of the gym, noting that, “It doesn’t matter where you live if you aren’t happy on the court. I wanted to come here for years.”