Hassan Whiteside came onto the NBA scene so suddenly that he took everyone by surprise. However, given how well the 7-foot-tall center has performed for the Miami Heat this season, his talent is most certainly no longer a secret among basketball circles.
Whiteside has everything you could possibly ask for in a franchise center. He’s currently averaging 11.0 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, but those numbers don’t really do him justice. This 25-year-old is long and strong and knows how to effectively defend the rim. Whiteside is an absolute difference maker on the basketball court, with the skills to be a massive star in the NBA. However, like many talented individuals, he is certainly not without his faults.
Despite all of his natural ability, Whiteside just can’t seem to grow up. And if he can’t figure this out now, then he’ll never be able to fully realize his potential. Should that occur, there will be no one to blame but himself. This concept is something that his teammates have come to fully understand and they have no problem telling Whiteside to get his act together.
On Monday night, the Miami Heat lost 100-90 to the visiting Boston Celtics, and they also bore witness to another immature act on the part of their budding center. Midway through the third quarter, Whiteside shoved Celtic Kelly Olynyk and was assessed a flagrant-2 and an automatic ejection for his actions. It’s decisions like this that don’t just hurt him as an individual, but they affect the team as well. After the loss, Dwyane Wade addressed Whiteside’s actions during his postgame interview. “He’s had enough veteran advice,” Wade said:
There comes a time when you have to do it yourself. There’s only so many words people can continue to say to you. You gotta do it. Not for you, you gotta do it for the other guys in here that you see sacrificing. That you see out there playing hurt and all the things that are going on. You’re part of a team. You’re part of an organization.
We all have our moments, selfish moments. But you can’t continue to keep having them, because you gotta be reliable and you gotta be able to be counted on. And right now, if he continues to act that way then he’s not reliable.
It doesn’t matter how much talent Whiteside brings to the table, he’s no good to the Miami Heat if he can’t manage to stay on the court. This is now the second time in the last five games that Whiteside has been ejected. The previous incident came against the Phoenix Suns when the center tussled with big man Alex Len. It’s one thing to assert a physical presence during the game, but it’s whole other thing to let the moment get the better of you. If Miami hopes to get into the playoffs, then it’s going to require a complete team effort. And that means Hassan Whiteside is going to need to check his ego for the betterment of the Miami Heat. Whiteside could be a great player or he could end up being another case study in wasted talent. It’s totally up to him.