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30Q: Will Hassan Whiteside Contribute at the NBA Level?

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We're asking 30 questions about the Kings' 2010-11 season.

Hassan Whiteside has spent his summer toughening up, and you have to believe he thinks he'll deserve playing time come Oct. 27.

The problem, of course, is how packed to the brim the new Kings frontcourt has become, and where Whiteside stands in the pecking order. He's a clear fifth behind veteran Samuel Dalembert and Carl Landry and youngsters Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins. And there really are only so many minutes to pass around, especially if the team hopes to be competitive (which will mean relying on the best producers as much as conditions allow).

Last year, Whiteside would have been (ahem) manna from Heaven: a defensive-minded center with condor arms and a swooping gait, a kid who legitmately seems to desire work. But the acquisition of Dalembert and pick of Cousins completely overshadows S.W.A.T., to the point where we almost always talk about him in the future tense, not the present.

Is that right? Can Whiteside potentially contribute this season, and at the NBA level (not the D-League)?

At some point, whether through trade or injury, Whiteside will get an extended look. It might be November, it might be January, it might be April. But he will get a look. It's almost up to chance as to whether that will come sooner or later. When it does, though, we can expect Whiteside will be looking block shots, hit the glass, and finish at the rim. I think he'll have varying levels of success in those categories. He can certainly block shots, but the size and competition level are so different from what he's used to. He wasn't a world-beater on the glass even at Marshall, and his touch at the rim is a huge question mark.

Is the defense enough? Will it be good enough for Paul Westphal to be forced to carve out a regular spot, or will Hassan have to wait another year or two to break into the core rotation? This is a question only this season to come can answer.