Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside have the potential to form the most dominant front court pair in the NBA, yet they have not meshed well together so far for the Miami Heat this season.
NBA stats for 2-man combos including Chris Bosh, with at least ten minutes together per game, show the following surprising facts:
Of the nine player pairings, only Whiteside and Deng have produced negative point numbers, when they are on the floor with Bosh. By contrast the Wade and Dragic combination resulted in the Heat outscoring other teams by an average of 1.3 points.
Much has been written whether Dragic could play alongside Wade in the back court. They are doing just fine.
The front court pairings seem to be the problem. The Bosh/Whiteside dynamic has not produced out as planned. The figures show coach Erik Spoelstra realizes that and has Bosh spending more time on the court with Gerald Green rather than with Whiteside.
On paper the Bosh/Whiteside tandem promised to deliver the Heat a high seeding to the Eastern Conference due to their sheer physical dominance and productive figures last season. Truth is last year, and in preseason, they spent very little time together. This season teams have outscored the Heat for the 15 minutes, on average, they share the floor.
Having the two work together to reach their full potential as teammates remains one of the biggest projects for the Heat this season, which could yield a big payoff. Bosh has acclimated himself very well with newcomers Green and Winslow, along with McRoberts. For some unknown reason, the Whiteside combination has fizzled in the early going.
With Bosh being out of action so much last season, experts assumed Bosh/Whiteside would automatically fit together. That has not been the case up to now. The two, along with the coaching staff, need to figure their respective roles on the team, because one quarter of the season is in the books.
Meanwhile the Heat have another power forward, Jarnell Stokes, to work into the front court, should he be called up. The Sioux Falls Skyforce have won six games in a row, all by impressive double digits figures: 16, 10, 20, 15, 16, 23. Even though those are D-league results, they are playing on a level field against their peers. Have the D-league players bought into the Heat system better than the varsity team has done?
The much talked about Wade/Dragic combination does not seem to be a problem for the Heat. The front court chemistry needs to be straightened out, as Bosh has a negative point differential with Whiteside, -0.9, and Deng, -1.2. A turnaround there, along with taking more shots, may be the key to Heat's success this season.
The Miami Heat rank last in the NBA in field goal attempts, being the only team trying less than 80 shots per game. Even though the team leads the league in FG% at 63.3% in baskets made within five feet of the rim, they attempt less shots within that range than 16 other teams.
Bosh, Whiteside, Chris Andersen, Amar'e Stoudemire all could raise the Heat's anemic offensive production at a cost to defensive ability. The Heat have too much front court talent go to waste in the name of defense. A more balanced approach may be the most prudent choice.