Written by Graham Brunell

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After UConn superstar Hasheem Thabeet entered in this year's NBA Draft, talk about him becoming the next Dikembe Mutombo (who recently retired) swirled around the league. Possible homes for Thabeet include OKC, Sacramento, Washington, Los Angeles, and Minnesota.

The 7-3 Thabeet averaged 13.6 ppg, 10.8 rpg, and 4.2 bpg in his final year as a Huskie, leading his team to the Final Four despite the injury to key role player Jerome Dyson. In his final NCAA game against Michigan State, Thabeet scored 17 points and ripped down six rebounds in the emotional loss.

As I said, Thabeet looks to a fellow African, Dikembe Mutombo. One reason is his superb shot-blocking abilities. Averaging 4.2 per game at the college level as I mentioned briefly in his stats, Thabeet's tall figure, long arms, and enormous hands make him an effective player on defense down low, rejecting close to every opponent that tries to penetrate the paint.

After a quick backround on Thabeet, let's move on to some of the teams that Thabeet could go to, and why he could help improve their team.

Sacramento Kings: The Kings had an embarrassing year this season, having the worst record in the league (17-65). With little to no star power, there was really no reason for fans to go to the game, yet they continued to attend the games in hope for a rare win. Thabeet gives fans and followers a reason to believe that the Kings could be contenders in the future, and also a reason to continue to appear at the games.

The Kings need a presence down low, after the departure of Brad Miller. Ever since, the only effective big man down low has been Spencer Hawes, who averaged 11.4 points and 7.1 rebounds in the regular season. Thabeet would allow teammates to become more pugnacious and less conservative on defense, knowing that if their man blows by them, they have the monstrous center behind them to block the shot.

Washington Wizards: After multiple injuries this year, the Wizards suddenly became one of the league's laughing stocks, finishing the season with an atrocious 19-63 record, last in the Eastern Conference. Now, with the return of Gilbert Arenas a.k.a. "Agent Zero" and center Brendon Haywood, Washington hopes to start off next season with a bang.

They have good depth down low, which includes Haywood, forward Antawn Jamison, and center Etan Thomas. Jamison is the primary scorer down low, but can also give support on the boards alongside of Haywood and Etan Thomas. They also have good role players, with Darius Songalia and JaVale McGee coming off the bench to give the Wizards a rebounding boost and a certain defensive poise down low.

Putting aside the fact that the Wizards aren't in need for a center, Washington's locker room environment is not exactly place for learning rookies. Sure, Jamison and Butler are good vets to have around the young'uns, but with the media surrounding the flashy Gilbert Arenas, and Haywood and Thomas likely throwing punches at each other 24/7, it's hard to keep the clubhouse under control. Especially with a new coach in town (Flip Saunders).

Los Angeles Clippers: The Clippers are the 11th youngest team in the league... although they play like they're in the top five. The Clips are a team with a mix of vets who are regretting signing contracts with the team (Marcus Camby, Baron Davis), young guys who look like they're wandering aimlessly (Al Thorton), and players who aren't helpful for any team (Ricky Davis, Chris Kaman, Zach Randolph). Like the Wizards, that's not exactly the situation you want to put a rookie like Thabeet in.

Also like the Wizards, the Clips have a truckload of big men, starting with the ones revealed above. Kaman is mostly a scorer and rebounder down low, averaging 12 points and eight rebounds in the regular season for Los Angeles. Camby is mostly a shot-blocker and rebounder for the Clips, averaging 11.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in his 2008-09 campaign.

Once again, the Clippers are in a similar situation as the Wiz, with a coach who may not be able to handle the teams' numerous amount of egos. Except this time, it isn't because he's "the new kid in town." Many Clippers fans (including The No-Look Pass) think coach Mike Dunleavy is just flat-out bad. Simply put, the Clippers had the talent to at least be incorporated in the Western Conference's top ten teams. Unfortunately, Dunleavy wasn't fit to control and mentor the team properly. Hopefully for Hasheem and his family, this won't be Thabeet's new home.

Oklahoma City Thunder: I wrote an article about OKC's future playoff chances, which included a segment about Thabeet and how he could aid this team...

"With a starting line-up of Westbrook, Sefolosha, Durant, Green, and Thabeet, the Thunder could have not only one of the youngest starting line-ups in the league, but one of the most talented. OKC lacks a very important piece -- an imposing center. Thabeet adds not only rebounds, but a low-post presence with a monstrous blocking ability, as well as a variety of post moves."

Minnesota Timberwolves: The 'Wolves are perhaps the team with the most potential in this Draft, followed by the Thunder. Former Celtics Al Jefferson and Ryan Gomes, sophomore Kevin Love, and Boston College grad Craig Smith would all highlight the T-Wolves young savvy. Coach Kevin McHale would be an excellent guide to Thabeet throughout the season, considering he was a Hall-Of-Fame low post man himself back in the Celtics' glory days of the 1980's.

They have hard-working, blossoming players on the court, and veterans that give an air of a teaching nature towards their younger teammates. Despite the large amount of centers and forwards on the team, the locker room, combined with the coach make this a sound fit for Thabeet. Expect to see him in a T-Wolves uniform if the lottery plays out like I think it will.


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