So what did Hassan Whiteside think when he heard he had been named the Eastern Conference’s Player of the Week on Monday?
“I won something?” the Heat’s $98 million center answered Tuesday after shoot around with a bit of sarcasm in his voice. “I was really surprised I won anything... I’m just kind of surprised I was recognized for anything in this league. I was really surprised.”
After being passed over for the All-Star Game this season and finishing third in the Defensive Player of the Year vote last season, Whiteside, 27, has become used to being the guy who doesn’t get any respect.
His teammates and coach, though, were happy to see the 7-footer earn some recognition.
“I’m happy for him that finally the league recognizes him, what he did last week,” point guard Goran Dragic said. “It’s great. He’s an unbelievable player and one of the leaders of this team and we need him every night.”
Whiteside led the Heat to a 2-1 record for the week, averaging 20 points, 13.7 rebounds and 2.67 blocks while shooting an NBA-high 73 percent from the field and 85.7 percent from the foul line. He posted a double-double in each game and has posted 12-straight double-doubles, the longest streak in team history, entering Tuesday’s game against the Suns.
“It was good to see him get recognized for winning and impacting winning,” Spoelstra said. “That’s what it’s all about. I’m pretty sure he’s had better statistical weeks than he had last week. But you start to accumulate individual awards and accomplishments when you help impact winning and I think that’s a great lesson. He already is getting it. He understands it. But it is nice to be recognized.”
What did Whiteside receive for winning the honor?
“You get a hot handshake,” he said. “No, you don’t get nothing.”