Hassan Whiteside on Reduced Role with Heat: 'At Least Give Me a Chance'

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2018

Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside (21) warms up before play against the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Saturday, April 21, 2018, in Miami. (AP Photo/Joe Skipper)
Joe Skipper/Associated Press

Hassan Whiteside's season ended Tuesday not with a bang but with a whimper.

After he played sparingly over the first four games of the Miami Heat's first-round playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers, the mercurial center managed just two points and five rebounds in 10 minutes in a 104-91 Game 5 loss at Wells Fargo Center.

In the locker room, Miami's $98 million man said he at least wanted a chance to prove he could be a difference-maker.

"At least give me a chance to fight. At least give me a chance to fight," he said, according to the Sun Sentinel's Ira Winderman. "I can understand if I was playing 30 minutes and I played bad. At least give me a chance."

In five games, Whiteside averaged 5.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 15.4 minutes per contest. His peak came in Game 4, when he posted 13 points and 13 boards in 26 minutes.

Toward the end of the regular season, Whiteside voiced his displeasure with head coach Erik Spoelstra's decision to bench him late in games so he could deploy smaller, more versatile lineups.

"Man, it's annoying, you know. Why we matching up? We got one of the best centers in the league," he said March 31, according to the Associated Press' Tim Reynolds. "Why we matching up? A lot of teams don't have a good center. ... It's bulls--t. It's really bulls--t, man. There's a lot of teams that could use a center."

Needless to say, Whiteside and the Heat will have plenty to discuss when exit interviews roll around.

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