That hashtag on Twitter has been going around in the Phoenix area ever since the Iranian center came to the valley of the sun.
Hamed Haddadi was signed as a free agent by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2008, then played with that team until this season. The 27-year-old only appeared in 13 games this season for the Grizzlies before being sent to the Toronto Raptors in the blockbuster trade with the main piece being Rudy Gay.
The 7’2” center didn’t play for the Raptors, but was acquired by Phoenix along with a protected second-round pick for Sebastian Telfair, whose back-up point guard services were no longer needed, because of Kendall Marshall.
Haddadi was thrust onto the court with Marcin Gortat just getting injured and Jermaine O’Neal still away for his daughter’s heart surgery. He was a little out of shape with some rusty skills when he got here but has become a sort of fan favorite as he has gotten familiar with the team.
The Iranian is averaging feeble numbers right now, but is going up against stiffer competition, because he is spelling the undersized Luis Scola, who is getting fouls called on him against the bigger, better starting centers in the league. Haddadi is averaging 3.8 points, 5.4 boards, and 1.3 blocks in only 14.5 minutes per game, since he arrived in the desert.
Right when I heard about the signing of Haddadi, I thought that it was just a way to make the Telfair trade work and that he would be put on the court to see what he had, and then be waived. However, the center has proven that with an off-season with a team he can play in this league. He does need to hit the gym to work on his arms and hit the treadmill to acquire more stamina though.
If Phoenix ends up trading Gortat and/or O’Neal in the off-season for a star of some sort, and get another starting center, with some time, Haddadi could be a decent back-up big man. He is so tall that he can dunk the ball without leaving his feet, only rising up on his toes, but needs to work on his foot work and finishing around the rim.