When discussing Hassan Whiteside’s growth during exit interviews on April 17, Erik Spoelstra stated that Whiteside “has an opportunity to be one of the greats in this league.” If Whiteside can build upon his strong play during the last month and a half of the season, then Spoelstra could definitely be onto something.
While the big fella had some great performances earlier in the year, he really started to impact winning in March. In fact, the 27-year-old tallied a 6.1 net rating and held the opposition to 5.5 percentage points less than their usual field goal percentage from less than six feet out over his last 22 games. Even though Whiteside suffered a right hand laceration during that stretch, he fought through it and helped lead the HEAT to some very important victories late in the season.
When it was all said and done, Whiteside led the league in rebounding at 14.1 boards per game and set the single-season franchise record with 58 double-doubles. Even though the 7-footer had an historic season, he can get even better as long as he continues to crash the offensive glass, roll to the rim with force and sharpen his post game.
In other words, there’s a lot to be excited about with Whiteside.
They Said It (Quote):
“With this team, man, I say [when] the season started out, we were strangers. Strangers became friends and then friends became family. These [are] my guys, man. We’re family. I hang out at their house. They’re welcome to my house regardless of this year, next year and years down. These guys mean a lot.” – Whiteside on the camaraderie with his teammates after the HEAT’s win over the Knicks on March 29
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