Hassan Whiteside of the Portland Trail Blazers has plenty to prove. And while most practically gave up on him, the Trail Blazers gave him another chance. The 2016 NBA blocks leader is not repaying them with great performances - at least in the first two games.

So far, Whiteside has been a reason for Portland's success in the 2019-20 NBA season. Although it may be too early, the fact remains that he is determined to prove critics wrong. In his NBA debut with the Blazers against Denver, Whiteside had 16 points and 19 rebounds, according to NBA.com. Several days later, he would unload 22 points, nine rebounds and three assists against the Sacramento Kings. Clearly, the 33rd overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft is making a statement.

"To start the season off, I think everybody got excited about his effort on both ends on the floor because it was actually in front of us. For him to put back to back games together, that's really encouraging for our team because it's going to be a big deal," said Damian Lillard to Brooke Olzendam after their win against Sacramento.

It may be too early to conclude that the Blazers make the right move taking a chance on the shot-blocking demon. Portland has a long way to go and the immediate goal is to make the playoffs. Also, Whiteside needs help from his teammates. Lillard and CJ McCollum are expected to do their usual thing but more need to help out.

For Whiteside, proving he is worth every penny of $27 million inherited by the Blazers is only half of the story. The fact remains he will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. After seeing his stock diminish with the Miami Heat, most practically wrote him off. Now, it appears he has rekindled that old flame. Better yet, he intends to use the 2019-20 NBA season as an audition for teams in need of a big man.

If he stays the course, the Blazers would love to keep the 7-foot center. It won't come as a surprise if he is dangled a new deal somewhere this NBA season. If he shuns the offer, Portland will have to decide on its next step. Should they wait until the summer or dangle Whiteside to other teams before the February NBA trade deadline?

These are scenarios to watch out this season. For now, the Blazers are preparing for their next opponent. They visit the Dallas Mavericks on Oct. 27 with tip-off set at 7:05 p.m. EDT at the American Airlines Arena. Oddshark.com tip the Mavs as favorites in this encounter.