Whiteside: Reports of the NBA center's demise are greatly exaggerated

Bill Streicher / USA TODAY Sports

In what's supposedly become a guard's league, a 3-point shooter's league, an increasingly perimeter-oriented league, Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside is rather quietly averaging 18.8 points, 15.9 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks.

He's one of a large handful of big men making a significant impact on the NBA this season, and while several of those centers have moved away from the paint-centric game Whiteside excels at, he insists the position is as strong as it's ever been.

"I don't have a day off at the center position," he told reporters after Monday's loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, according to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.

In the loss, he scored a career-high 32 points and pulled down 13 rebounds, but also had to reckon with mighty Sixers rookie Joel Embiid, who had 22 points and three blocks in just 23 minutes of action. Whiteside doesn't know who exactly has been eulogizing the NBA center, he just knows it's premature.

"Even Embiid at the end of the game was talking about how we're bringing back the centers," Whiteside said. "And when you hear it from the players, they're saying it, Embiid saying it. I don't know who 'they' are, but they must not watch basketball, because every night I've got Dwight (Howard), (Andre) Drummond, (DeMarcus) Cousins. I got a really good center every night. So I don't know where these nights off are happening. ...

"There's so many good centers, even (Jahlil) Okafor coming off the bench (for the Sixers). I might say maybe two teams don't have a really good center, maybe. But every other team has a really good center."

Things won't get much easier for Whiteside the rest of the week. He'll get Drummond and the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night, followed by a back-to-back set against Marc Gasol and the Memphis Grizzlies. No nights off, indeed.

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Whiteside: Reports of the NBA center's demise are greatly exaggerated
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