In NBA circles, they say you can't teach height. You also can't play it if it's not going to actually work out on the court. For Hasheem Thabeet, his 7-3 frame has always been good enough to entice the front office to sign him, or even draft him at No. 2 overall. But for head coaches, Thabeet has always proved to be far too slow and ineffective to allow him any serious minutes at the NBA level.
That makes it unlikely that Thabeet would ever see any real court time for the Oklahoma City Thunder, despite rumors that he might land with them. To think anything would happen in 2012-13 for the team from Thabeet's perspective is to miss his career to his point.
The Memphis Grizzlies made perhaps one of the biggest blunders in recent NBA Draft history when they chose Thabeet at No. 2 in the 2009 Draft. James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Ricky Rubio, Stephen Curry and Brandon Jennings were just a few of the players on the board when the Grizzlies chose Thabeet, so there's a long list of teams grateful for the pick after them.
It wasn't too long after, in February 2011, that the team admitted its mistake and shipped him off to the Houston Rockets with an additional first rounder for Shane Battier. One year after that, the Trailblazers worked him into a deal from the Rockets involving Marcus Camby as well. Four years. Three teams. Now he's unrestricted and what once seemed like an immense amount of potential is becoming roster fodder bouncing from team to team.
It's easy for the new fan base to get swept up in the possibilities that a still young 7-3 player can offer a team. Thabeet didn't play organized basketball until well into his teen years. The height and defensive skills are definitely present. Perhaps just some time with a team is all that's needed. That sort of measured approach is what Royce Young has taken over at Daily Thunder when he writes:
There's something to be said for a 7-3 guy that was taken second overall, especially when you're talking a minimum level kind of contract for him likely to just practice and work. And in the Thunder culture based around development and growth, maybe Thabeet could finally realize a little of that talent he has. People are the league have told me that Thabeet isn't a knucklehead. He just hasn't had the kind of work ethic necessary to make it in the NBA.
Even that is a bit more positive that anyone needs to be. The reality is that Thabeet is a complete flier at this point. Thunder fans can cite the team environment, the deep roster, the positive culture, the lack of pressure and all of the rest, but the Tanzanian center has been a bust since day one and couldn't garner patience from the team that scouted, interviewed and drafted him despite the investment. The most likely story here is a one-year contract that never pans out and another short, unimpressive chapter in Thabeet's NBA career.