Miami Heat: Fans may be critical of Hassan Whiteside, but he’s missed

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

Despite Heat Nation’s recent frustration with Hassan Whiteside, the Miami Heat are definitely missing him right now.

Recently, Miami Heat fans have seemed torn on Hassan Whiteside.

Although a good deal of Heat Nation is still proud to call the 7-footer their own, others are frustrated. Even going so far as calling for rookie Bam Adebayo to take his starting role. Or worse, ready to trade the big man off all together.

Having averaged 17.0 points, 14.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks a game last season, people expected to see even more development from Whiteside this year. Especially given that the Heat missed the postseason, giving the guys the entirety of the summer to bounce back stronger than ever. However so far, the center has underwhelmed, averaging 14.9 points, 12.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 15 games. And what’s been more worrisome, is his inconsistency.

Whiteside was able to start 2017-18 play off strong with 26 points and 22 rebounds against the Orlando Magic, but he recorded only 13 points and three rebounds versus Denver, in his second game back from being sidelined with a bone bruise. He even got benched after 16 minutes in Golden State, totaling just three points and six rebounds.

But the truth of the matter is, a boxscore doesn’t always tell the whole story. Certainly not in this case anyways.

Because for one, Whiteside never fully healed from his bruised knee. Proven first and foremost in his uncharacteristic play, but also ultimately in the fact that he’s out once more, dealing with the same problem.

There’s also the fact that many of the 28-year-old’s teammates have also been struggling lately, without a doubt impacting his performance as well.

So while fans may want to see Whiteside beast on both ends of the floor, game-in and game-out, it’s a little unrealistic at this point in time. And unfair to write him off both so early in the season, and while injured.

The Heat know better than to question his value though. In fact, they are very forthcoming about how much they miss him out there on the court.

"“When you lose a player like Hassan, who impacts so many different things on both sides of the floor, you do have to consider matchups. Your team isn’t the normal group. So we’ll continue to evaluate whoever we think gives us the best chance for Saturday night, that’s who we’ll go with.”"

The best chance because no one can quite make up for Whiteside’s absence. Especially defensively.

"“Well, we have to [adjust],” Spoelstra said. “That’s the bottom line. Certainly Hassan brings a tremendous amount to our defense, even our philosophy of how we defend.”"

When the big man doesn’t play, Miami has been allowing nine more points per game (109.6) and being out rebounded by a larger margin (4.8 compared to 1.1). Opponents are also averaging more points in the paint (50.3 as opposed to 41.1) and shooting better (49.5 versus 43.3 percent).

Stat-lines may not provide a full picture, but numbers don’t lie.

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As Hassan Whiteside continues to rehab his knee, the Miami Heat need to find a way to better utilize guys like Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk, to fill the void.