Top Five Reasons Miami Heat Will Make Playoffs in 2016-17

Top Five Reasons Miami Heat Will Make Playoffs in 2016-17

Goran Dragic, Justise Winslow, and Hassan Whiteside

2. A Dominant Hassan Whiteside

Hassan Whiteside Miami Heat

Fresh off signing a four-year, $98 million contract, Hassan Whiteside is in prime form heading into next season. The 7-footer is only 27-years-old and is looking to build off of last season’s breakout campaign in which he led the NBA in blocks and maintained the league’s best defensive efficiency rating.

No more will the big man split time at center with Amar’e Stoudemire, who has recently retired. That means more minutes for Whiteside, which means more chances to prove his worth. In addition to being amongst the league’s top defensive stalwarts, Whiteside also put up a respectable scoring average of 14.2 points per game in limited minutes last season. This offseason, Whiteside has been meticulously honing his offensive game in an effort to become more of a scoring threat.

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“Low-post scoring, that’s the number one thing he wants to work on, and I’m all for it,” coach Spoelstra recently said in a team-released video. “He will also work on his skill level at the top of the floor, handling the ball, getting us into second situations as a playmaker.”

With more minutes, more touches and an improved offensive skill set, there’s really no reason the big fella can’t average 20+ points per game in 2016-17. Ideally, the Heat would love to find itself with a “twin towers” situation with Bosh playing the role of a dynamic power forward that stretches the floor, and Whiteside taking on low-post scoring duties as the prototypical center.

Next: An Improved Justise Winslow

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