On Hassan Whiteside’s Impact on the Miami Heat


Hassan Whiteside’s double-double and five blocks helped spark the Miami Heat to a much-needed win against the Brooklyn Nets Sunday night. Whiteside had plenty of great blocks and some encouraging offensive outputs, but it was one of the rare plays he made that didn’t result in a cheering AmericanAirlines Arena that epitomized what he means to the Heat.

He starts at the top of one elbow, cuts off the passing lane to Mason Plumlee, effects the shot of Joe Johnson in the paint, picks up Johnson on the perimeter and forces a long two-pointer and comes out of the scrum with the rebound.

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His activity and size standout, and he’s getting better every game.

The 7-footer is averaging 4.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game since signing with the Heat, but since Miami inserted Chris Andersen into the starting lineup and started playing Whiteside heavier minutes, he’s averaging 9.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.

In his last two games, he’s scored 25 points on 11-of-15 shooting and has 16 rebounds and seven blocks combined.

On offense, he started as a bit raw. But he’s seemingly more comfortable every game and has become a normal part of Miami’s pick-and-roll game. He does a wonderful job making himself available on the roll and catching the ball on the run.

His hands and anticipation of the ball really do stand out.

On defense, too.

Whiteside is 25, has played in just 10 games for the Heat after mostly playing oversees and in the D-League since being drafted in the second round out of Marshall in 2010. The Heat signed him on November 24 after waiving guard Shannon Brown. He spent a few games with the Sioux Falls Skyforce before getting called up.

“We wanted to be an organization that opened our arms to him, his possibilities and his potential,” Erik Spoelstra said after their win against the Nets.

So what is his potential?

"Haslem sees such upside that he says “in time, with work, he can be somewhat of DeAndre Jordan, probably,” referencing the Los Angeles Clippers’ starting center.“There’s a lot of talent there,” Haslem said. “He brings something to us we don’t have, 7-foot, shot-blocking ability, the way he’s able to go get lobs and finish at the rim. And he can shoot, too, [up to] about 15 feet.”"

(Via Barry Jackson, the Miami Herald)

Right now Whiteside is painting Miami red. He’s blocking shots, grabbing rebounds, protecting the rim and eating Pub Subs in a way that’s reminding Heat fans of Alonzo Mourning. The rotation of him and Birdman have given the Heat the solid and constant rim protection that was desperately needed earlier in the season.

Since Whiteside started logging important minutes, the Heat are grabbing 48.6 percent of rebounds per game compared to their season clip of 47.4 percent. That number would rank them in the low 20’s as opposed to dead last in the league.

Considering the Heat as a whole have been struggling, you can expect those numbers to improve when the Heat right the ship. Whiteside, in all likelihood, will be a key part of that.

Next: Watch Hassan Whiteside Block a Bunch of Nets Shots