With the Miami Heat facing an uncertain offseason, one player believes that the Heat will still be a force to be reckoned with going into next season.
Hassan Whiteside will be entering his second season with Miami next year, and he’s confident that Pat Riley can retain a strong roster heading into the 2015-16 season. The 7-foot center spoke following an appearance at the Heat’s basketball camp at South Broward High School:
“I just believe in Pat Riley. I believe he’s going to make the right decision and my teammates, they’re going to make the decisions that’s best for them. So that’s what I really believe.”
The Heat organization have a lot to weigh on their minds as Dwyane Wade, Goran Dragic and Luol Deng could all opt out of their contracts before free agency begins on July 1. Dragic has already clarified he will opt out to test free agency while Wade and Deng are question marks at this point in time.
That would mean that Whiteside and Chris Bosh are the only Heat starters from last season who will be under contract for certain entering the 2015-16 campaign.
The 26-year-old center isn’t too concerned with how things will unfold this summer:
“I really can’t worry about that too much right now. I can just really control what I’m going to do, and what I’m going into. And around training camp, that’s when you really know your team.”
On whether Wade will stay or not:
“Of course I hope D-Wade stays. He’s a great teammate. I mean, he’s a really good guy. So I would want to stay. But that’s on him.”
While there are questions as to how the team’s roster will look next season, Whiteside has been focusing on improving his own game this offseason. He stresses he’s been working on free-throw shooting, ball-handling and pushing the ball in transition:
“Pat Riley just wanted to keep building on what I did last year, and just improve the free-throw shooting. Unfortunately, I had a hand injury at the end of the year. Next year it will be a lot better….I’m doing a lot everything, a lot of ballhandling, a lot of ball work, pushing the ball in transition. I’m doing a lot of different things.”
The young center averaged 11.8 points, 10 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game as a focal point of the Heat’s offense as the season wore on. Whiteside brimmed with confidence when commenting on the future of big men in today’s small-ball movement of the NBA:
“You’ve got to make ’em pay on the other end. You just can’t feed into the small ball. You’ve just got to really beat ’em on a rebound and get low-post scoring”
As Whiteside enters his first training camp with the Heat, the franchise hopes that he can continue to improve. It will be much needed as the franchise faces an uncertain future with several key players.