Hassan Whiteside is unhappy with his role on the Miami Heat yet again.
After complaining about his playing time just a few weeks ago, Whiteside lamented head coach Erik Spoelstra’s use of him at the offensive end following the Heat’s Game 3 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night, per the Associated Press’ Tim Reynolds:
Whiteside: “Coach wants me to just be in a corner and set picks.”
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) April 20, 2018
Here’s Anthony Chiang of the Palm Beach Post with more context:
Whiteside: “I’m not as involved in as many dribble hand-offs as I was and post-ups 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.”
— Anthony Chiang (@Anthony_Chiang) April 20, 2018
Whiteside no doubt probably expected to log more than 13 minutes and change in Game 3. The Sixers cleared Joel Embiid to rejoin the rotation at the last minute. Whereas he might not have matched up well with Philly’s lineups through the first two tilts, he now had a purpose.
Except, Spoelstra remained content to use Kelly Olynyk and James Johnson over him. He pulled Whiteside rather quickly in the third quarter and only went back to him for about two minutes in the fourth. Whiteside attempted only one shot, and the Heat were a minus-three during his stints on the court.
It has to be frustrating for him while watching from the sidelines. He is, after all, the Heat’s highest paid player. But it’s difficult to keep him on the floor against such a mobile team like the Sixers. And it doesn’t really have much to do with his offense. The absence of a three-point shot kills their spacing, but Spo is smart enough to use his size off screen-and-rolls when the situation calls for it. His defense is a bigger problem. He comes off as slow-footed and foul-prone at times, and he’s not someone you want rotating on to a Ben Simmons or having to guard Embiid from a face-up position.
With the Heat down 2-1 in the series now, maybe Spo is compelled to try slowing things down and getting Whiteside more involved. But additional touches for him in the half-court will only help Joel Embiid remain within closer proximity to the rim—another problem. Don’t be surprised if Whiteside’s minutes stay right where they are for the rest of this series.