It’s weird to think about now given his All-Star status, but it wasn’t long ago that Bam Adebayo was fighting for minutes behind another big-time pivot in Hassan Whiteside. And while some Miami Heat fans may be stuck on the memory of that dynamic, there’s no denying the impact Whiteside had during his time in South Beach.
Regardless, just three years after his last game in a Heat uniform and hot on the heels of a strong campaign with the Utah Jazz, Whiteside was essentially left without a spot in the NBA. Fast-forward to now, though, and the 10-year veteran finally looks to be getting back on the hardwood.
Per an announcement on the team’s official Facebook page, Whiteside will be joining another ex-NBA star in Brandon Knight as a new addition to Piratas de Quebradillas of the Puerto Rican league. The post included a picture of the two ballers waving Puerto Rican flags shortly after their arrival in the country.
Quebradillas finished last season with a 17-19 record. They’ll tip off their 2023 slate on March 24 against Grises de Humacao.
Could Ex-Heat Center Hassan Whiteside Find His Way Back to the NBA?
The fact that Whiteside was forced to go to Puerto Rico for a gig feels like a head-scratcher given his age (at 33, he should still have something left in the tank) and stature.
Make no mistake, there have been questions about his competitive fire and willingness to buy in over the years, but he has nonetheless been one of the game’s better paint protectors and a capable low-post scorer in the Association. Moreover, he was one of the best backup bigs in the league with the Jazz in 2021-22.
As Rudy Gobert’s No. 2, the former Heat center maximized his opportunities whenever they came. Whiteside averaged 16.5 points, 15.3 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per 36 minutes in Utah; numbers that weren’t dissimilar from those of his prime years. He also connected on a career-best 65.2% of his field-goal attempts.
While defense has always been his calling card, those statistics speak volumes about the impact Whiteside had offensively last season. And the advanced metrics/tracking data truly drive the point home.
The Quin Snyder-Donovan Mitchell-Gobert Jazz boasted one of the NBA’s top offenses in ’21-22 — outpacing opponents by 6.2 points per 100 possessions — but they were even better when Whiteside was on the court. His net rating of 10.1 was the best mark teamwide and his offensive rating of 119.2 was the No. 1 mark in the league among players logging 40-plus appearances.
All of this is to say that Whiteside should probably still be in the Association right now.
Heat Insider Sounds Off on Team’s Cardiac Nature
Monday night’s win over the aforementioned Jazz was just the latest in a string of games to go down to the wire in some way, shape or form. And, for his part, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman is feeling the roller-coaster ride in much the same manner that fans are.
From his latest Ask Ira column:
Honestly, it’s as if all Heat games should be taken in from a dentist’s chair, because it very much feels like pulling teeth, win or lose. Think about it, the Heat have played 70 games and 50 (50!) have been defined by the NBA as clutch games (games within five or fewer points at any point in the last five minutes). Allow that to marinate. They only have played 20 games this season that haven’t been clutch games. This isn’t a season, it’s a Stephen King novel. The Heat should have an in-house pharmacy at Miami-Dade Arena. And if not medication to calm the nerves, then novocaine to numb the discomfort.