Dragić praises Whiteside with handling of reduced role

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher 

Miami Heat point guard Goran Dragić has praised center Hassan Whiteside despite the big man having a limited role on the team. 

When Whiteside had his minutes reduced last season, he complained to the media. This caused many to believe that the Heat would trade Whiteside after having a disastrous playoff performance against the Philadelphia 76ers. 

Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside attempts a shot over Ian Mahinmi against the Washington Wizards
Hassan Whiteside attempts a shot over Ian Mahinmi against the Washington Wizards (Getty Images)

“He’s positive,” Dragić said. “He’s stayed focused and he works. Bam [Adebayo] has been amazing [as a starter]. But Hassan is just waiting for his opportunity to come and he was great. His energy is way higher than it was at the beginning of the season.”

On Saturday, he had 17 points and 13 rebounds with one block and one steal in 19 minutes in a 100-92 win over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York City. He was the second-leading scorer for the Heat in this contest, as Dion Waiters led the team with 28 points.

The 29-year-old Gastonia, North Carolina native has spent the last five seasons with the Heat. This season, he has appeared in 67 games with 53 starts. 

He is averaging 12.4 points, 11.4 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.7 steals, and 1.9 blocks per game in 23.6 minutes per contest. 

The 17-point performance was his best performance since he had 29 points in a loss to the Phoenix Suns on Feb. 25. 

The 29 points were his season-high. Besides the 29-point performance against the Suns, he also had 29 points in a win over the San Antonio Spurs on Nov. 7. 

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