Miami Heat fine Hassan Whiteside for using profanities while criticising team's lineup
What's the story?
Miami Heat's Center, Hassan Whiteside, was fined on Monday (2 April 2018) for criticising the team's lineup using profanities. After not getting enough playing minutes in an overtime 110-109 loss to Brooklyn Nets, Whiteside expressed disappointment on the team coaches' (including Erik Spoelstra) strategy to play a small lineup in the later minutes of the clash and bench the 28-year-old Whiteside, who is touted as one of the best centre players in the NBA currently.
In case you didn't know
Miami Heat are ranked 7th in the NBA Eastern Conference and are fighting it out to book a berth in the 2018 NBA Playoffs. Nets, on the other hand, are way out of the race for the 2018 NBA championship trophy as they are sitting at the 13th rank in NBA Eastern Conference.
The heart of the matter
As reported by the Sun Sentinel, Miami Heat didn't reveal the amount that Hassan Whiteside would be fined for using profanities but clarified that there would be no accompanying suspension.
When Erik Spoelstra benched Hassan Whiteside in the clash against Brooklyn Nets in the crucial minutes of the game, the decision was taken in order to adapt to Nets' change in tactics. Spoelstra justified his decision to bench Whiteside and said that the 28-year-old was still not up to full game speed. As reported by Miami Herald, Spoelstra said,
"It will get better. It’s not where it was when he (Hassan Whiteside) left against Philly, his last game. He’s probably say something different. But game action is game action. You can do all you want behind the scenes. But you got to get those minutes in games. He had some good moments tonight. They (Brooklyn Nets) went to the smaller lineup and it always comes to that. Does the speed lineup get to size or size get to speed? And their speed got to our size for a little bit."
However, while Erik Spoelstra believed his decision to bench Whiteside to be spot on, Miami Heat couldn't still drive past a lowly-ranked Brooklyn Nets even after the swap, which is why Whiteside probably lost the control on his tongue and said,
"It’s annoying. We shouldn’t. Why are we matching up? We’ve got one of the best centers in the league. Why are we matching up? A lot of teams don’t have a good center. They are going to use their strengths. It’s bull****. It’s really bull****, man. There are a lot of teams that can use a center."
Hassan Whiteside has missed 28 games this season because of injury, and is down with average 25.4 minutes per game, in comparison with 29.1 and 32.6 minutes per game that he was averaging in the previous two seasons. While team tactics is an important aspect of the game, Erik Spoelstra will have to decide soon if he wants to risk losing the 19th highest paid player in the NBA, who still has two full seasons remaining on a $98 million four-year contract with Miami Heat.