Miami Heat Grab Bag: High Praise for Hassan Whiteside


Welcome to a weekly grab bag of thoughts and observations from the past few days in the world of Miami Heat basketball and the NBA.

Measuring the impact of the Dragic trade: Over at Nylon Calculus, Nathan Walker statistically ranked all of the trades from this last NBA trade deadline. After the deadline, Walker wrote that the Heat were the big winners from a real plus-minus point of view. In this last piece he says “The Heat are receiving some obvious praise here, getting rid of Norris Cole and gaining Dragic seem to be obvious victories.”

He ranks Dragic as the 10th best acquisition from the deadline, with a net increase of 2.3.Walker divulges that these rankings are based box score statistics. Read the full post for the details, but these rankings don’t account for other basketball things–like how the trade impacts Miami’s future, the cap or player development. Walker admits this, and that it isn’t the goal of the article to judge as much.

Dragic’s ranking is impressive (despite being ranked below Will Barton, who was traded from Portland to Denver) because, well, he never even played with Chris Bosh. Bosh had a real plus-minus of 0.53 (not great, but that was during the most turbulent parts of the Heat’s season). So the numbers back up what we already know, this team should take a big jump next season when everyone returns healthy.

The Buck stops where? After Khris Middleton hit that game winner, I couldn’t watch the video for the rest of the night. I still couldn’t believe the Heat lost like that. In such an unlucky way. I mean, they couldn’t have done anything. It’s just dumb luck. Right? Wrong. Watch the video again (sorry).

Dragic goes after the loose ball rather than get in position. Later, he admits that he probably shouldn’t have gone after the ball. Via Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

"“After the game, I was watching the game and of course probably it would have been a better situation if I didn’t go for that ball and I would just have stayed on Middleton. Then, probably [Pachulia] would have to shoot it, and for him it’s a lower-percentage shot.”"

But that wasn’t the problem. Dragic going after the ball is a hustle play. Just like the Heat rotate and help on defense, they should have done the same here. Instead, however, the team just stands there.

Scroll up and watch again (SORRY!). Wade, Haslem and Beasley (Beasley is touching his damned toes) stand around while Dragic and Deng move towards the ball. Wade recovers in time to contest Middleton’s shot, but imagine if he rolled to him before the ball is in the air. He probably picks off the pass or, at least, is in position for a better contest or to bat the ball away and let the clock expire.

It’s tough to blame Wade–or anyone–for this. Ball watching in this case seems like a natural reaction. But when Dragic and Deng have the savvy to react, I expect Wade to. Even if Beasley is still in the corner touching his toes.

UD on Dragic: Speaking of Dragic, Haslem had some praise for his new teammate, per the .

"“I didn’t know that about him,” power forward Udonis Haslem said. “We only faced him twice [a season] because he was on the West Coast. I didn’t know how physical he was. I didn’t know how competitive he was. I didn’t know he dived on loose on loose balls. I didn’t know he doesn’t back down. “He kind of reminds me of the guy I played with in high school [at Miami Senior], Steve Blake. He’s one of those type of guys — obviously different players on the court — just the way they don’t back down from nobody. I like that about him.”"

What is the first thing Haslem praises Dragic for? How “physical” he is. That shows exactly what Haslem respects in a teammate, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone.

I also see the Steve Blake comparison. I’ve always enjoyed watching Blake. He shows that some confidence and willingness to go up against anyone that Dragic has.

Back to Haslem, though. He praises Dragic for being “physical” and “competitive” while us in the blogosphere praise Dragic’s rate for finishing at the rim and his masterful running of the fast break. Old school vs new school.

Mar 16, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside (21) dunks during the third quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at American Airlines Arena. Miami Heat defeated against the Cleveland Cavaliers 106-92. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Whiteside’s woes: After cutting his hand open to the point where he could “see the meat” and having his toe nails ripped off earlier in the season, does anyone get injured in the Saw-like grotesqueness that Whiteside does? Whatever happened to a pulled hamstring? Geez.

Whiteside vs Russell: Speaking of Whiteside, the legendary Bob Cousy compared Whiteside to the legendary Bill Russell. Even more impressive is that’s it’s the first time Cousy has compared an NBA player to Russell. Ever.

From Bill Doyle of the Telegram & Gazette:

"“I have never said this in the 40 years since I retired,” Cousy said in a recent telephone interview, “but he is the first big guy, not (Patrick) Ewing, (Hakeem) Olajuwon, Shaq (O’Neal), who reminds me defensively and on the boards of Russell. He runs the floor well, he has excellent timing, he blocks shots and keeps them in play the way Russell did.”"

More from Cousy.

"“I don’t get excited too often about these guys,” Cousy said, “but this kid looks to me like a turn-around guy. “This kid moves to every rebound, he just reacts to everything on the defensive boards and he reacts the way Russell did. He leaves his man and comes over to help. He’ll block five or six shots a game and he catches them. The league hasn’t caught up with him yet.”"

He added that, if he were Danny Ainge, he would trade “three first round picks” for Whiteside. I know Pat Riley doesn’t like the draft, but he would have to think about that, no?

Isaiah Thomas doesn’t like being looked at: Remember when D-Wade blocked Isaiah Thomas and Thomas injured his tail bone? In case you don’t, here is the video evidence.

Thomas said he didn’t mind the basketball play, but didn’t appreciate how Wade stared at him after the block.

From Tom Westerholm from

"“The only thing I didn’t like was how he looked at me after,” he said. “You can’t control that. He tried to block the shot, but the only thing I thought about when I watched the film was how he looked at me after.”"

Wade certainly did stare him down after the play. Because that block was awesome. It’s unfortunate that Thomas got hurt, but we see that all the time. The menacing look. It doesn’t appear that Thomas was particularly obsessed with this, or even wanted revenge. I guess I’m just sort of surprised that he even brought it up.

Podcast plug: Of course, if you haven’t already, check out the Heat Check podcast. David and I have a new, segment-based format that we think will help take the pod to the next level. Oh, and if you haven’t been listening since our notorious audio issues, that’s been completely fixed. I swear.

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