Miami Heat

Hassan Whiteside, the three-point shooter? A look at the possibility

What does Spoelstra think about Whiteside shooting more threes?

As long as Hassan Whiteside is making an impact in the paint, Erik Spoelstra approves of more threes from the Heat’s center.
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As long as Hassan Whiteside is making an impact in the paint, Erik Spoelstra approves of more threes from the Heat’s center.

When Heat center Hassan Whiteside declared that being a part of All-Star weekend is one of his goals this season, maybe he wasn’t referring to participating in the actual All-Star Game.

Maybe the 7-footer meant making the three-point contest.

OK, that’s a stretch. But Whiteside has made it clear he’s worked on his outside shot this offseason and hopes to use the three-point weapon more this year.

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“I want to keep shooting them,” said Whiteside, who has made the only two regular-season threes he has attempted during his NBA career. “I don’t know what my percentage is going to be. I haven’t missed one yet. But I’m just going to keep shooting them and try to do it within the offense and keep shooting that thing.”

And coach Erik Spoelstra seems to approve of it, as long as he’s also making an impact in the paint. Like in Sunday’s preseason opener against the Spurs, when Whiteside finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds and also made a three-pointer within the flow of the offense.

“He’s been working on it,” Spoelstra said in advance of Tuesday’s preseason game against the Charlotte Hornets. “When he’s spacing the court and in those kind of circumstances, I want guys growing their games. At that point, he already had 12 to 13 rebounds. He had four offensive rebounds, a bunch of impactful things in the paint. That’s not necessarily a reward for that, but he was playing to his strengths, to our identity, imposing his will in the paint — and then that shot presented itself. I’m totally fine with it.”

Finding the balance between playing inside while also keeping defenses off balance with a few outside shots is Whiteside’s challenge.

“I think it’s just a read,” Whiteside said. “I think it’s more so of a read. As the season goes along, I’m going to get better at. I kind of look at what kind of guy I’m playing against. Like the DeAndre Jordans, [Rudy] Goberts, they are going to protect the rim more. So that flare three is going to be there a little more than against a guy that’s a lot smaller.”

The three-pointer isn’t the only new wrinkle Whiteside is hoping to incorporate into his game. He also wants to push the ball off rebounds more often this season, like the play that began with a Whiteside rebound and ended with a Whiteside Euro-step layup Sunday.

“I want do that a lot more,” he said of pushing the pace. “I want to do that more than shoot threes. Just getting out, especially when the big guy is behind me. It’s tough. Let’s get up and run because I can dribble and I can finish at the rim.”

Riley Hunter speaks

Ruth Riley Hunter spent just two seasons with the WNBA’s Miami Sol, but she never really left South Florida.

It’s one of the many reasons Riley Hunter decided to become the Miami Heat’s new radio analyst and TV studio analyst. She replaces John Crotty, who moved from those roles to take over for Tony Fiorentino as television analyst Eric Reid’s partner

“This is a tremendous opportunity to return to a place that’s been home since I was drafted here in 2001, an organization that’s treated me like family and a next step in my career that I’m really excited about,” Riley Hunter said Tuesday on a conference call with local media. “… Even when I played in different cities and organizations, I always came back here in the offseason. So it’s just something that’s felt like home and it has been home since 2001.”

Riley Hunter will make her radio debut next to radio play-by-play announcer Mike Inglis during Monday’s home preseason game against the Orlando Magic.

Aside from the Sol, Riley Hunter also played with the Detroit Shock, San Antonio Silver Stars, Chicago Sky and Atlanta Dream during her 13-year WNBA. She is a two-time WNBA champion and also was on Notre Dame’s 2001 NCAA championship team.

“It’s an exciting time as a woman to have this opportunity,” she said. “But I think we’re entering an era where it’s no longer a story to hire a woman. The perspective and values and experience is what matters. I think we’re right around the corner from that. …… It says a lot of the Heat because they always put value on equality.”

Richardson still out

Even after participating in shootaround, Josh Richardson missed his second consecutive preseason game Tuesday against the Hornets due to a left thigh contusion. He’s hopeful he’ll be able to return Friday, when the Heat takes on the Washington Wizards to end a three-game preseason road trip.

“If it was the playoffs, yeah, I might be in,” Richardson said before Tuesday’s contest. “But, yeah, at this point I’m really worried about being healthy, so I can repeat like last year. I have an explosive game. I went through walk-through today and I wasn’t explosive as normal, so might as well let the other guys get some more run.”

Richardson suffered the injury in Saturday’s “Red, White and Pink” scrimmage while fighting for rebounding position with 6-2 and 170-pound point guard Briante Weber.

“Briante was boxing me out in the scrimmage the other day, and he’s a little boney,” Richardson said with a grin. “So, it was like a straight bone to my leg.”

Along with Richardson, James Johnson (sports hernia surgery), Wayne Ellington (left ankle soreness), Bam Adebayo (right AC joint sprain) and Dion Waiters (left ankle surgery) also missed Tuesday’s preseason game for the Heat.

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