Heat center Hassan Whiteside finished an immensely disappointing first-round playoff series doing something he has done multiple times in recent months: voicing displeasure about his playing time.
Whiteside played only 10 minutes in Philadelphia’s series-clinching Game 5 win and finished the series with 77 minutes in five games, just 15.4 minutes per game.
He closed with just 26 points, 30 rebounds and six blocks, combined with 12 turnovers, in the five games.
His limited minutes were partly the byproduct of foul trouble, partly the byproduct of Philadelphia playing some lineups without a natural center, and partly from the apparent conclusion of this coaching staff that the team is often better playing without him.
Asked what most frustrated him from a team perspective, Whiteside cited his own issues with playing time.
"Not being out there,” he said. “Not being out there. At least give me a chance to fight. At least give me a chance to fight. I can understand if I was playing 30 minutes and I played bad. At least give me a chance."
He said: “We played a style of play Coach wanted. He wanted to utilize more spacing I guess in the playoffs, so that's why he did it."
Asked if he planned to discuss his situation with Heat president Pat Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra, Whiteside said: "It's definitely something you can discuss with those guys.”
Whiteside’s average minutes per game dropped from 32.6 last season to 25.3 this season, and he was fined in late March for an expletive filled rant about not being used more against some smaller lineups.
On Tuesday, he shot 0 for 4 from the field, closing with two points and five rebounds and left for good with 8:15 left in the third quarter.
What did Spoelstra tell him when he took Whiteside out in third?
"He didn't tell me nothing.," said Whiteside, who had three fouls at the time.
What did you take out of that?
"I thought I was going to go back in, but I didn't," Whiteside said.
What did you take out of this series? "I've got nothing to say."
He then was asked where he goes next with this: "We'll see. I can't tell you right now."
Dwyane Wade said the onus is on Whiteside to improve.
“Don’t give me excuses,” Wade said. “Just go into the summer and work.”
The Heat was outscored by 75 points with Whiteside on the court during the regular season (second worst on the team behind Dion Waiters) and by 26 points with Whiteside on the court during this playoff series, including minus 14 in Game 5.
The Heat is expected to explore a Whiteside trade, with the center due $24.4 million and $27.1 million in the final two years of his contract.
Whiteside ended up missing 28 games this season because of injuries.
"It's been a long year, man, up and downs, up and downs," he said.
Here’s my column off Tuesday’s finale, including my call for significant change and where the Heat goes from here.