Hassan Whiteside has been a big part of the Miami Heat’s rotation the last few years manning the defense and being a solid offense as their starting center. But in the second half of the season, Whiteside voiced his anger with his playing time and role. He started the season with a knee injury and never seemed to be able to get back to 100% and that may have played a role in his diminished role. Another reason for his new role may have been because of the changing landscape in the NBA. The Heat often used Kelly Olynyk at the center position for his ability to spread the floor with his shooting. And while Olynyk is not a shot blocker, he was able to switch on to smaller players just as well as, if not better than, Whiteside. And when the Heat did need shot blocking they did turn to their rookie center Bam Adebayo at times as well.
What was interesting was what Heat president, Pat Riley had to say about Whiteside. Riley said of his center, “By the time we got to the playoffs, I don’t think he was ready,” He later went on to say, “He wasn’t in great shape. He wasn’t fully conditioned for a playoff battle mentally. He and we got our heads handed to us.”
In the 5 game series against the Sixers, Whiteside played just 76 minutes and had his worst performance in the clinching game in which he scored just 2 points in 10 minutes. How this situation unfolds will be something interesting to keep an eye on going forward especially since he has two years remaining on his four-year, $98.4 million deal. He and coach, Erik Spoelstra are not on the best of terms, and Riley said of their relationship, “The disconnect between (Whiteside) and Spo, that’s going to take a discussion between them and it’s going to take thought on the part of coach and also Hassan,”