Since the 2018 NBA offseason started, rumors and speculation continue to circulate that the Miami Heat will be parting ways with center Hassan Whiteside. After finding himself out of the Heat’s rotation, Whiteside expressed his frustration and publicly stated his desire to join a new team that can give the opportunity to prove himself in the league.
Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra and President Pat Riley tried to fix their relationship with Hassan Whiteside, believing that the disgruntled superstar could still be a part of their long-term plan. However, with the emergence of Bam Abedayo and Kelly Olynyk, it remains a big question mark if Miami is still an ideal place for Whiteside. If the Heat make Whiteside available on the trading block, one of the NBA teams who could express interest in acquiring him is the Toronto Raptors
Fadeaway World suggested that the Raptors should consider replacing Jonas Valanciunas with Hassan Whiteside as their starting center in the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season.
“For the last six seasons, center Jonas Valanciunas has struggled to take the next step, averaging roughly 12 points and nine boards a night over the course of that time. The stability he provides down low could be useful for a team fighting to make the playoffs, but a team working to contend for a title could use a boost. Trading for Whiteside not only emphasizes the team’s commitment to defense but creates a clear and defined big-three to tackle the East. The trio of guard Kyle Lowry, Leonard and Whiteside may prove to be the league’s best defensive trio.”
NEW: A look at the Heat’s power forwards, and how they fared playing with Hassan Whiteside last season https://t.co/2VBUBsKHU8
— Anthony Chiang (@Anthony_Chiang) September 20, 2018
Despite going through ups and downs last season, there is no doubt that Hassan Whiteside is still a better center than Jonas Valanciunas on both ends of the floor. When given enough playing time, Whiteside can prove that he’s one of the most dominant big men in the league. In the 2016-17 NBA season, when he averaged 32.6 minutes per game, the 29-year-old center posted career-highs of 17.0 points and 14.1 rebounds, together with 2.1 blocks, on 55.7 percent shooting from the field.
Whiteside may be considered as the odd man out in Miami, but in Toronto, he could be the missing piece that the Raptors need to make their first appearance in the NBA Finals. When all are healthy, the “Big Three” of Whiteside, Kyle Lowry, and Kawhi Leonard will make the Raptors the best defensive team in the league. Having three superstars will also increase the Raptors’ chance of beating Eastern Conference powerhouse teams like the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers in a best-of-seven series.