Hassan Whiteside has a January 10 guarantee date for his contract. If he remains on the roster past that date, the Heat will pay the remainder of his contract for the season. Meanwhile, the Heat also own a Disabled Player Exception valued at $2.65 million that was granted in the wake of Josh McRoberts season ending surgery. Miami is expected to likely use that sign a power player.
But the question is: Does Hassan Whiteside deserve more playing time with the Heat right now? If you have watched the Heat over the last few weeks, you have noticed some glimpses of what made Whiteside so dominant in the D-League.
The 7'0, 265 lbs. center hasn't been dominant in a Heat uniform, but he also hasn't had ample opportunities. Whiteside has played in only 8 games for the Heat this year, but only three times has he played more than 8 minutes. Hassan has three times played 16+ minutes, and in each of those games has grabbed 7 rebounds. The 25 year-old is trying to make his mark on the roster while Chris Bosh and Justin Hamilton were unable to play.
Whiteside is a big body, but he still lacks some upper body strength to help him be a force in the league. He has been foul prone in a Heat uniform, but dominant in a Skyforce uniform. Whiteside has played 4 games for the Skyforce this season, and he has averaged 21.8 PPG, 14.8 RPG, and 5.0 BPG. Those are big numbers, and it's the reason he is on the Heat roster. He had even better numbers in the 3 games he played with the Iowa Energy before the Heat signed him.
In comparison to another notable Heat D-League player -- Khem Birch is averaging 15.4 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 2.4 BPG.
With Miami ranking last in the NBA in rebounds per game again, it's clear the Heat are still in search of some type of big to help them. Zydrunas Illgauskas, Erick Dampier, Rony Turiaf, Joel Anthony, and Greg Oden all failed at the job so to speak, and has left Chris Bosh and Chris Andersen as the only bigs worth playing. Whiteside is just the next attempt at a big to try and create a remedy for the rebounding woes.
On Monday, Chris Andersen started alongside Chris Bosh in the power rotation, leaving room for another center to come off the bench. Whiteside entered in the first quarter and immediately made a difference. Whiteside had 8 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks.
But here's my take: in rebounding alone, Whiteside has been impressive. Yes, he can't score very well, although he has good hands, and he fouls often, but he gets his hands on a lot of rebounds. And he is contesting plenty of shots., and he often finds himself in the right position on the offensive side. He seems like the type of player that could find a spot in the roster.
Does he deserve more time right now? I think Whiteside needs to find some better combo skills to beat out Udonis Haslem for some extra minutes. Haslem still draws a charge or two per game to help the Heat and knows the game so well, even if his skills are deteriorating. But I like the prospect of Hassan. I think his motor, energy, and size are things the Heat need, and I hope he gets more of a chance to be productive in a Heat uniform.
Hassan, #HeatNation is pulling for you!
Let's hear what you think! Do you like what you have seen from Hassan Whiteside? Do you want him to play more?