Hasheem Thabeet’s career as a professional basketball player has been disappointing. He was the number 2 overall pick in the 2009 draft, but never really lived up to the hype. He hasn’t played in the NBA in 2 years, and spent last season in Grand Rapids playing in the D-League.
But Thabeet hasn’t given up hope. He still aims to get back into the league, and he thinks his defensive skills will get him there. He worked out with several teams this off season, but didn’t get a call up to play for any of them. He was surprised, but isn’t giving up. Via Basketball Insiders:
“I was kind of shocked I didn’t get called up, but it was a situation that I couldn’t control. What I could control was being consistent, continuing to work hard and enjoying myself while I was there. It was great to get an opportunity to compete. I have fun being out on the court and letting my presence be felt, trying to dominate on the defensive end. I wanted to show that I can defend at any cost. With the systems now, I won’t be out there trying to be the best scorer or anything; there are other players whose job it is to do that. I’m finding ways to impact the game.”
He made it clear that he intends to get back into the league, and that when he does he intends to be one of the best shot blockers around.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) October 19, 2016
He’s opting out of the D-League this year so that he can focus completely on getting ready for an NBA return.
“The goal is to make it back to the NBA, so I’ll do whatever it is going to take for me to get accepted by a team. Whatever it takes for me to get back, I’ll do it. The goal is to focus on the NBA right now and I feel I can actually say from my heart that I have worked hard enough this summer to stay over here [rather than go overseas].”
“My offseason has been great. I worked so hard. Physically, I worked on my body and I’m in the best shape that I’ve ever been. I’ve gotten stronger, I’m running better and I worked a ton on my game. I did a lot of reps – hitting left and right hook shots comfortably. It was great. Mentally, I’m in a great place too. I’m way more confident and comfortable now because I’ve learned to work harder and focus more. I know what I need to do while I’m out there, but I also watch film, work on my body and things like that. I’m in the best shape of my life. At first, I was just taller than everyone else and it was almost like I was playing off of adrenaline rush – just young and out there and feeling like so much was coming my way. That’s not the case anymore. I’ve progressed a lot. I’m more mature when it comes the game.”
While Thabeet is clearly a “bust” at this point, his size and defensive capabilities are undeniable. If he works hard and finds a stage to show off his improvement, making it back into the league isn’t out of the realm of possibility.