Despite being the Miami Heat’s highest paid player, Hassan Whiteside hasn’t been playing as many minutes or finishing games on a nightly basis since returning from his knee injury.
Whiteside has averaged 11 points, eight rebounds and 1.5 blocks in just over 20 minutes per game in his last six games, and while he is mostly saying the right things in the media, he wants his old role back.
Here is what he told Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald:
“You always want to play,” he said. “As a player, I don’t want to come out. If you ask me, I want to play 48 minutes. So that’s a tough question. But coach sees different things. Maybe he sees different things on the court. Sometimes it’s tough to take those guys out, too, because you got to take somebody off the court. And them guys were playing well.”
According to Head Coach Erik Spoelstra, Whiteside needs to be more consistent and play harder on both ends:
“It’s both ends,” Spoelstra replied when asked if there’s a specific area where he wants Whiteside to improve. “He’ll get there. Some things he’s doing better. As he does it more consistently, harder and with a better motor and attention to detail, he’ll earn more minutes.”
This is another example of why Spoelstra is one of the better coaches in the league, he sees his team playing great basketball at the moment with some smaller lineups and is rolling with it, with no pressure to play his highest paid player more and to use this opportunity to motivate Whiteside to become a more consistent player that brings it every night.