Is Hasheem Thabeet a Better Pick Than Blake Griffin?

Greg EvansCorrespondent IMarch 22, 2009

NEW YORK - MARCH 12:  Hasheem Thabeet #34 of the Connecticut Huskies reacts between plays against the Syracuse Orange during the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Yes, I said it. Hasheem Thabeet may be a better pick than Blake Griffin.

In the case of Minnesota and Oklahoma City, where they already have an established PF (Kevin Love and Jeff Green respectfully), this is especially true.

The 7'3" Thabeet has averaged a double-double this year at UCONN, a team which had two players averaging 10+ rebounds per game. While Hasheem Thabeet may not be the scoring threat that many expect Griffin to be, he is more of a defensive presence.

Thabeet also has a better field goal percentage than Griffin (64.3 to 64.7 in Thabeet's favor). This may not look like a big difference on paper, but Thabeet's reliability in the paint is something many professional teams can lean on.

Sure, Hasheem Thabeet is averaging three fewer rebounds per game than Griffin, but Thabeet easily has the advantage when it comes to blocks. Hasheem Thabeet has over 100 blocks, compared to a mere 41 for Blake Griffin.

Where Blake Griffin's strength lies in scoring and rebound, Hasheem Thabeet's strengths are in defense and shot changing.

Thabeet is a rare combination of height and strength that can easily translate to the NBA. He will not put up stellar offensive numbers, but this shouldn't be what his future team looks at.

Most lottery teams are bottom feeders for a reason. They cannot slow down the NBA's higher scoring teams, and they can't make critical defensive stops at the end of close games. Thabeet's presence will be felt when a two guard tries to drive the lane in the closing moments, only to see his shot swatted away by "The Beet".

Thabeet is the shot-changing presence that any lottery team needs to make the next step.

Hasheem Thabeet hasn't received the praise that he deserves this year. Blake Griffin is a great college player, but Thabeet has the potential, and ability, to be a standout NBA player.


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