Hassan Whiteside and defense go together like peanut butter and jelly. Some claim that the Miami Heat center hunts for stats when he's on the court, but the results speak for themselves. Just look at the metrics. He stands tall with some of the greatest names in the history of the NBA. There are active players on his heels, though. Whiteside could officially be displaced as the best defensive center by a certain Frenchman soon.

Whiteside dominates on defense

The Heat need their center's rim defense. He led the NBA in blocks in 2016 and rebounds last season. He's only been named to an All-Defensive Team once, though, when he made the second team in 2016.

Nevertheless, Basketball-Reference's "Defensive Rating" shows a man at the peak of his powers. Among active players with at least 5,000 career minutes, Whiteside ranks first with a rating of 97 (the lower the rating, the better).

He could be in danger of slipping from his throne, though. Last season, Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green led the NBA in defensive rating among players with at least 30 minutes per game. The top ranked player on the Heat (excluding the mostly injured Justise Winslow)? Josh Richardson. Even Dion Waiters ranked above Whiteside last season. Maybe the career rankings are no longer an accurate reflection of today's NBA landscape.

Putting Whiteside on a historical list

Despite last year's underwhelming rating, Whiteside still has a high historical rank. Only Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Ben Wallace, and Arvydas Sabonis rank above him in all-time defensive rating. Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, and Kevin Garnett are among the legends that rank behind him on the list.

Those names suggest Whiteside should have some more individual awards on his mantle. Playing on an underwhelming Heat team may be affecting his stature.

Among the active players lingering are Green, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, new Charlotte Hornets center Dwight Howard, and San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard.

Between them, they share six Defensive Player of the Year awards. Whiteside doesn't have a single one. The Heat will expect their veteran to train rookie Bam Adebayo in the art of rim protection this season, so that maybe one day he'll rival his mentor in regards to defensive dominance. It may be time for Whiteside to get more respect as a defender in the NBA, though, judging from his career defensive rating.

Follow the page NBA
Follow
Don't miss our page on Facebook!