“I’m doing what I do. I don’t care if the league recognizes it or not. I’m getting wins for my team while putting up the numbers.
“It starts with defense, man. Everyone wants to talk about offense, but we’re a bunch of guys who are just hungry to get at it. We’re holding All-Stars to season-lows. It’s amazing.”
Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside delivered some empowering words to sideline reporter Jason Jackson, following a 106-88 road victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. And to say the least, this might be the highest-level of confidence that I’ve ever seen from Hassan — at least since he wanted his NBA2K rating to improve, back in January of 2015.
But this time around, he’s finally been able to display himself as a bigger-option for the Heat, and it’s paid off for the 27 year-old big-man. As the year of 2017 takes it’s turn, we’ve seen a great stretch of offensive consistency.
Through his last-four games, Hassan is averaging 20.4 points, 15.2 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks, as the Heat are now the NBA’s hottest team with twelve-consecutive wins. And to add to this degree of impressiveness, Whiteside’s been imposing with a plus/minus of 17.4. In his first thirty-four games, he averaged 17.3 PPG and 14.3 RPG, but a subpar plus/minus of -2.5.
By now, we all should be aware of Whiteside’s journey to the NBA. From the moment he was waived from the Sacramento Kings, to multiple D-League stints, and now practically a franchise cornerstone, it’s all paying off.
As an Unrestricted Free Agent in the 2016 offseason, Whiteside ultimately returned to the Heat on a four-year, $98 million deal. And in reality, it was the most important move Heat General Manager Pat Riley could make for a rebuilding organization — and rebuild, it did.
Miami began the season with an 11-30 record, sitting miserably at 14th in the Eastern Conference. There wasn’t much for the Heat to build their team chemistry around, as sophomore Forward Justise Winslow suffered a torn labrum in January, as he is expected to miss the remainder of the 2016-17 season.
There were, of course, plenty of other injuries across the Heat’s main roster, such as SG Dion Waiters, who missed twenty-consecutive games due to a groin injury. Josh Richardson, Tyler Johnson, Goran Dragic, Wayne Ellington, as well as Whiteside himself, were never able to consistently find time together on the court.
But it’s all changing for a franchise — who’s climbed themselves up to the tenth seed in the East.
Not only has Miami been on an impressive run, Hassan Whiteside has campaigned himself as the best center in the NBA throughout this recent stretch. Let’s view some of his most dominant performances so far.
- 18 points, 18 rebounds against Dwight Howard in a 116-93 blowout win over the Atlanta Hawks.
- 30 points (14-17 FG), 20 rebounds, and 3 rejections against the helpless Philadelphia 76ers.
- 19 points, 13 rebounds against Karl-Anthony Towns, squeaking past the Minnesota Timberwolves in a gutsy two-point win.
- 23 points (10-12 FG), 16 rebounds, in an eighteen-point rout over Bucks106-88.
Hassan, who is the league’s leading rebounder by the way, continues to show improvements in staying focused, and leading the Heat with much-needed performances. There’s no doubt that if he continues to play at this rate, he might be the most unstoppable center in our league.