Toronto Raptors: Who will play center for Raptors in 2020?

Toronto Raptors - Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Hassan Whiteside 7′ center

Toronto Raptors
PORTLAND, OREGON – FEBRUARY 25: Hassan Whiteside (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

the Miami Heat, 2020 NBA Playoff Finalists, traded their center, Hassan Whiteside, to the Portland Trailblazers for  Maurice Harkless and Myers Leonard in 2019. The Trailblazers were buying time for the return of Jusuf Nurkic, who suffered a severe leg injury in March of 2019.

One intangible Hassan Whiteside shares with the culture of basketball surrounding the Toronto Raptors is hard work. Whether by choice or necessity, the 32nd pick in the 2010 NBA Draft spent his third and fourth seasons professionally playing overseas. He resumed his NBA career in 2014, spending the next five seasons playing center for the Miami Heat.

Whiteside is a free agent coming off of a four-year 98 million dollar deal he signed in 2016. At age 31, Hassan Whiteside is still a productive center and could be a Toronto Raptors starter, if Serge Ibaka is not retained. He is a natural center standing seven-feet tall and weighing 265 pounds.

In 67 games this season, Hassan Whiteside scored 15.5 points, 11.7 rebounds with 3.9 offensive boards, and 2.9 blocks per game. He would be a significant upgrade on Marc Gasol in several ways. He is at least four years younger, more athletic, a rim protector, a consistent scorer, and could provide Toronto with a dynamic rebounder.

The one category where Hassan Whiteside does not help the Toronto Raptors is with three-point shooting. He doesn’t take many, but that need could be filled with other players, while Hassan Whiteside could give Toronto a natural center.