Hassan Whiteside doesn’t agree with Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra. Or Dion Waiters. Or Goran Dragic.
Sensing a pattern here?
Coach Spo and Waiters recently riffed on the Heat’s screen-setting issues, a direct form of commentary on Whiteside’s play. And now Dragic has come out with similar sentiments, per the Palm Peach Post‘s Anthony Chiang:
“It’s really important,” Dragic said. “If me and Dion want to get in the paint then of course we need good screens so we can get there and break down the guys and try to spray it or finish. When there’s no screen then it’s really tough because then you have two guards, two players with nowhere to go. So that’s why it’s really hard to get open shots and create open shots.” . . .
“I think Kelly is really good at [setting screens],” Dragic said. “We need to get Hassan to do that. But, he got to that a little bit, he’s already shown he could do it. The Detroit game and Washington game, he was great. But we need to be consistent.
Whiteside, of course, disagrees with these assessments (via Chiang):
“I mean, it’s just, it’s just, man, the guys aren’t being patient,” Whiteside said when asked about the issue after Tuesday’s practice. “Me and D-Wade showed that all year long. We ain’t had no problems. It’s just being patient, man, just be patient, wait for the screen and let guys set you up and make decisions.
This is fine. Or maybe it’s not.
Whiteside is averaging 2.2 screen assists per game, according to NBA.com. That is second on the team, behind James Johnson’s 2.3, but it’s demonstratively lower than last year’s team-leading 3.3. He might have a point about ball-handlers needing to showcase more patience. Dragic and Waiters and Spo also probably have a point about certain guys not getting to the ball quick enough to set effective picks.
Everyone is at fault to some extent. They have to be. No one person can be responsible for their bottom-five offense. That’s a collective failure.
Still, it would help if Whiteside could get together with his guards and rap about timing and placement preferences and angles and all that good stuff. This group clearly isn’t on the same page, and if multiple people are hinting at him having an adverse impact on the way ball-handlers attack in the half-court, one of which is a respected coach, his issues probably aren’t being exaggerated.