« Barring late snag, veteran swingman Joe Johnson is headed to Miami | Main | Hassan Whiteside "snuggling up" at the free throw line »

Where is Hassan Whiteside improving the most? Knowing when to take his jumper and setting screens

Hassan Whiteside's numbers since the All-Star break are an eye-opening.

He's averaged 21.7 points and an NBA-leading 18 rebounds and 3.3 blocks over a three-game stretch. His 60-plus points and 50-plus rebounds in three games off the bench is something that hasn't been done in the NBA since Charles Barkley did it back in 1986.

But those are just numbers.

Where has Whiteside made his most strides as a player? At least two places, Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic said Friday, knowing when to take his jump shot and establishing a better connection with his point guard. 

After Dragic assisted Whiteside on only 22 baskets before the All-Star break (they played 39 games together), the two have already hooked up for six Dragic to Whiteside assists since the break.

"We're finally getting some chemistry and it feels good," Dragic said. "We were joking around the other day that we're going slow. Every game it's one lob and hopefully by the end of the season we get two or three lobs a game. That would be awesome."

Dragic, who was critical of Whiteside's screen setting earlier in the season, said Whiteside has improved in that area too.

"He's reading the situation right now, especially the way the defense is playing," Dragic said. "If they're forcing me down, he's changing the angle of the screen and it's much easier for me. It's open lanes and I can do my stuff."

After making only 36.5 percent of his jump shots (35 of 96) before the break, Whiteside is 9 of 17 (52.9%) in his first three games since the break. Sure, that's not a large sample size. But where Wade said Whiteside is improving is when he takes those shots. 

"Last year, it was 'Oh my God he's taking it.' Then he started hitting it," Wade said. "So, now, it's all about [when in the shot clock] to take it. That's the one thing we've been working on. If we come down the court with 18 seconds left and you throw it to him to him because he's open and he shoots it, that may not be the one. But you run your offense, you get it around, do different things, get it back to him and there's seven seconds left that could be the one. We all know he has great touch to shoot."




Powered by TypePad