Hassan Whitesides is the tallest player in the NBA, and he’s doing well for himself.
The 6-foot-9 forward is in the midst of a breakout season in which he has averaged a career-high 20.9 points and 12.8 rebounds per game.
He is also shooting a career high 44.4 percent from beyond the arc.
Whitesides has been a major contributor to the Heat’s recent success, averaging 14.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.0 steal per game during his nine-game stretch that has seen them win seven of their last eight games.
The Heat have been playing with a heavy dose of athleticism this season.
It hasn’t been lost on Whitesides that he’s being asked to do a lot more on the offensive end than usual, and his improved shooting percentage has helped.
Whiteside said he’s been able to make more plays on offense because he’s getting more opportunities.
“It’s just kind of been a combination of my teammates helping me out, and then me being more confident in my shooting, being able to find guys and finding open teammates, and the way I’m able to handle the ball,” Whitesides said.
“Being able to finish at the rim has helped me, and that’s helped me score more points.”
Whitesides, who signed a five-year, $84 million deal with the Heat on Monday, is one of the top players in the league, and has been playing at an elite level for years.
Whitesider has been at the forefront of the Heat offense since he arrived from the Boston Celtics, and is expected to help the Heat make an All-Star team.
Whitesides ability to score, make plays and defend opponents is what makes him a valuable piece of the Miami offense.
The Miami Heat guard Hassan Whitesider (17) shoots over Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (2) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Mass., Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2017.
AP Photo/Steven Senne”I’ve been a big part of winning the championship with the Celtics, I’ve been part of a championship team that won the championship,” Whiteside added.
“Now I’m looking forward to being a part of the title run with the Miami Heat.
It’s going to be exciting.”
Wholesides, however, knows the Heat are going to have to do more to make him a more consistent scorer.
Whitesiding said he has noticed his shot has improved since he was traded from the Celtics to the Miami HEAT.
He’s also noticed that he can’t get away from his man.
“I feel like I can score, but I just can’t shoot the way they want me to shoot,” Whitesider said.
“That’s my biggest problem right now is I just have to be a little more deliberate on the defensive end and not just go into the paint, but take care of my man.
I feel like that’s been improving my shot a lot, but it’s just something that I’ve got to work on.”
Whoreside’s offensive contributions were the catalyst for the Heat winning the NBA’s first title in franchise history last season.
He led the league in scoring and shot an NBA-high 50.3 percent from the field, including 46.4 from 3-point range.
Whitesiders defensive prowess also earned him the Rookie of the Year award, as he ranked third in the East.
The 7-footer has averaged 18.6 points and 7.8 assists per game this season, and was voted to the All-Rookie First Team for the third time.
Whitesided, who was originally selected No. 1 overall by the Boston Red Sox in the 2011 draft, has struggled offensively since his move to Miami, but he has a bright future.
He said he wants to prove that he belongs in the top 10, as well.
“Just being able the team that I’m playing for right now, I’m just excited about it,” Whitesid said.