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Coach Westphal Summer Interview Part III: Hassan Whiteside and the Rookies

Editors Note: This interview took place on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 before the NBA locked out their players.

This is the third and final edition of the Cowbell Kingdom summer interview series with Coach Paul Westphal.  In today's edition, we talk about last year's second round pick, Hassan Whiteside, as well as new comers Tyler Honeycutt and Isaiah Thomas.  Loaded with potential, a bum knee wiped out almost the entirety of Whiteside's training camp last season.  After playing four minutes in the season opener, the young seven footer out of Marshall never saw the floor again at the NBA level and later admitted to being more injured than originally thought. Honeycutt and Thomas both fell hard on draft night, slipping into the second round where the Kings gladly scooped them up.  With so many young players on the roster, Westphal answers how this group fits into the Kings' rebuilding blue print. James Ham: Hassan Whiteside is a similar player to Samuel Dalembert on the defensive end - a shot blocking defensive specialist.  How is he progressing?  How is his recovery from last season's knee surgery? Coach Westphal: Well, his recovery is coming along well, but it takes a long time.  He's just starting to shoot baskets and move around a little bit.  He can run on a treadmill like a champ.  He's been working hard.  He's an intriguing player, but it's hard to even say what his progress is because there is no measurement of him competing in basketball to define progress.  He's been around watching and trying to pick up as much as you can by watching.  He's been working on his body.  So much of what's going to happen with him is going to depend on how completely his knee heals and how much he can pick up what the NBA is all about. Defensively, it's funny, he can be compared to Dalembert in some ways because they are similar size and shot blockers.  But Dalembert usually blocks his own man's shot.  Hassan is a weakside shot blocker.  Their style is very different even though they have similar body types.  It will be interesting to see how Hassan is able to bring his skills to the NBA. Read more after the jump. ... More