Hassan Whiteside has been a great story for the Heat for most of this season, but the maturity issues that kept him out of the NBA for so long seem to be creeping back in at the worst possible time.
Miami is battling for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East, but Whiteside has been more of a distraction lately than the helpful player he’s been.
He was ejected from Monday night’s loss to the Celtics for a complete non-basketball play, and Dwyane Wade was among those who came down hard on him afterward.
From Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post:
Shortly after Whiteside’s ejection, Udonis Haslem (he was out with multiple injuries) stormed from the bench to the locker room. It is unknown why he went back there, but there is one obvious possibility.
Miami coach Erik Spoelstra, who appears to have been very patient with Whiteside since the team signed him early in the season, was clearly angrier about what happened Monday than Whiteside’s previous ejection.
Dwyane Wade went so far as to say there is nothing left for the veterans to tell Whiteside at this point. He has to figure this out himself.
Is Wade disappointed?
“Very,” he said. “We all are. As a Heat fan you are. In this locker room we are. Everybody. He’s gonna have to learn and he’s gonna learn the hard way. He’s doing it his own way. Hopefully he changes his mentality pretty quick.”
More from Wade, via Joe Goodman of the Miami Herald:
“He’s had enough veteran advice. There comes a time where 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 got to do it for the other guys you see in here sacrificing — that you see out there playing hurt and all the things you see 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 got to be reliable, and you got to be able to be counted on. And right now, if he continues to act that way, then he’s not reliable.”
Whiteside was also ejected from a game against the Suns just one week prior to this latest incident.
The Heat see themselves as a family organization, and are willing to tolerate a lot from their players; Michael Beasley is a great example of that. We’ll see if that approach is able to reach Whiteside, who, with averages of 11 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocked shots per game, has been an important part of the team this season.