Members of Miami Heat speak on Hassan Whiteside benching

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 06: Kevin Durant
OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 06: Kevin Durant /

Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside was benched for the second half of the team’s loss to the Golden State Warriors.

The Miami Heat have been going through it lately. Currently 4-6 and sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, it seems last year’s history is certainly repeating itself.

But what exactly seems to be the problem?

Well, that’s part of the issue. It’s hard to just pinpoint one thing. First, their usually strong defensive identity completely disappeared, giving way to opponents doing whatever they want. Then went their 3-ball, not a single player able to drill it in from downtown. Nevermind losing Rodney McGruder to a leg fracture, Hassan Whiteside being sidelined with a bone bruise and Dion Waiters dealing with continuous ankle discomfort.

However, perhaps the worst thing the Heat are currently dealing with an apparent lack of communication.

Now, it always takes a minute to bring back chemistry amongst a team. From the front office down to the players themselves, it’s hard to regroup right away. Even if guys have worked out together during the offseason. Regardless of the fact that last season’s core group returned. Because there are still new members. Which means the coaching staff has different lineups and rotations to figure out.

Something Miami absolutely has yet to perfect. Take Kelly Olynyk for instance, who doesn’t seem to be utilized correctly. Or Justise Winslow, whose role is unclear.

But right now, the entirety of the Heat don’t seem to be on the same page for completely other reasons.

After finishing with 21 points, 17 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks and 3 steals in 31 minutes in a win over the Los Angeles Clippers, Whiteside was given limited tick in Monday night’s loss to the Golden State Warriors. Playing just 16 minutes, he totaled 3 points, 6 rebounds and 1 block, and was visibly frustrated with himself.

So why was the big man benched?

He doesn’t know.

"“I guess [Spoelstra] thought it was better if I didn’t come back in. I don’t know. I really don’t know.”"

And it’s not the first time he seemed to question Spoelstra either. After a loss to the Denver Nuggets, Whiteside spoke out about not being sure on his status, moving forward.

"“I don’t know, man. I think I’m on a minutes restriction or something. I don’t really know what’s going on right now.”"

Not a great sign, to say the least.

His teammates, on the other hand, had more to say about the center, specifically regarding his recent benching. In fact, co-captains Goran Dragic, Udonis Haslem and James Johnson had a meeting with Whiteside, to try and get him back on track.

"“Minutes is earned, man. Minutes is earned on this team,” Johnson said. “We had our talk [with Whiteside] as we should as a team and as the three captains that we are. And he gets it, man. I know he gets it. He’s the most athletic guy I know. He’s the heart of our team and he’s also the best big man in the league to me.”"

And no, no one is mad at the 7-footer.

"“We’re not disappointed, man,” Haslem said. “Hassan is still growing, you know what I’m saying… Every night you’re not going to have it in this league… We’re going to live and die with him. We’re going to ride with him, we’re going to stick behind him and we’re going to encourage him.”"

As for Dragic? He’s confident things will change.

"“I mean it’s tough. He’s our main player,” Dragic said. “But, we have full confidence Hassan is going to be back and he’s going to be his old self again.”"

Next: Big man Kelly Olynyk is the Miami Heat's forgotten player

The Miami Heat are still on the road tonight, as they take on the Utah Jazz. Fingers crossed a fully engaged Hassan Whiteside is ready to go.