Through the first three games of the first-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside has tallied just 11 points while playing roughly 13 minutes a game.
That’s quite the difference from what Whiteside posted during the regular season, as the big man averaged a double-double in 54 games, scoring 14.0 points and grabbing 11.4 rebounds per game.
Whiteside was critical of how Heat coach Erik Spoelstra used him towards the end of the season and that frustration continues in this postseason.
Following the Heat’s Game 3 loss, Whiteside made it clear he wants to play more and be utilized properly.
“It’s just different, man,” Whiteside said. “I feel like our offense is a lot different [from the regular season]. I’m not as involved in as many dribble handoffs as I was and postups as I was in the regular season. That’s what coach wants. Coach wants me to just be in the corner and set picks. That’s what he wants. I’ve just got to trust it. I want to get more minutes out there. I want to get more rebounds out there. I’m just going to keep trusting coach’s decision making. Even with the fouls, I still could have been out there. I wouldn’t have fouled out.”
Sixers star center Joel Embiid made his playoff debut and was phenomenal, finishing with 23 points and seven rebounds. Whiteside and Embiid have had some heated moments on the court this season and Embiid once again got the best of Whiteside in Game 3.
Whiteside says Embiid is living a big man’s dream because the Sixers center gets touches in the paint, something Whiteside doesn’t really get anymore.
“They run enough plays for him that he’s going to get his numbers,” Whiteside said of Embiid. “I don’t really get caught up in that. He lives a big man’s dream. He gets the ball, he gets the post-up every other play. They pretty much run a lot of stuff through him and Ben [Simmons]. His shots attempts are going to be there.”
The Heat’s offense has been better with Whiteside on the bench. Kelly Olynyk‘s ability to spread the floor and hit 3-pointers is a big reason why Spoelstra plays him over Whiteside.
Whiteside has been in foul trouble through the first three games as well and his defense isn’t as strong as it was during the regular season.
Could this year be the last we see of Whiteside in South Beach? It sure is trending in that direction.