Whiteside delivered the former on Monday with a 41-minute night that produced 19 points, 18 rebounds, six blocks and a Miami overtime victory over the Indiana Pacers.
It was Whiteside's second consecutive monster effort, following a 25-point, 23-rebound game on Saturday, and a reminder of how seamlessly he can control the game on the inside, often without scoring, when he is tuned in.
"The way he played last game people can argue — because of the pace of the game — other bigs can’t really keep up with him," Heat team mate Luol Deng told the Miami Herald prior to the team’s 101-93 win Monday.
"(Whiteside) is not a slow big. He can move. He’s got good hands." The flip side of his enormous potential is Whiteside's inconsistency and flaring temper. He was suspended for Friday’s game against Atlanta because of an elbow he threw against San Antonio earlier this month. Such incidents have become a concern after the Miami seven-footer was also ejected from a pair of games and suspended for one last season. A second round draft pick in 2010, Whiteside was waived by multiple teams and had played just 19 career NBA games before the 2014-15 campaign, his breakout one with the Heat. While the 26-year-old has become a force, leading the NBA with nearly four blocks per game, he has not proven trustworthy to the Heat just yet and it is clear the team is unsure about how to move forward. Miami has been bringing Whiteside off the bench since early this month when he returned from a hip injury and his name was in trade rumors prior to last week’s deadline.
Whiteside will be a free agent at season’s end and will surely receive big offers, putting the Heat in a decision-making position about their tantalizing talent.
"I’m just out there to try to produce and play the way I play," Whiteside said. "Whether I’m starting or coming off the bench, I just try to add value to the team."
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)