Miami Heat: Player Grades For 2016-17

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

As we continue our transition into offseason mode, we recap 2016-17 for the Miami Heat by grading every player on the roster.

The summer of 2016 was a strange one for the Miami Heat.

After 13 seasons of being the guy in South Florida, Dwyane Wade shocked the world by signing with the Chicago Bulls. Not only that, but there was also the whole Chris Bosh situation we won’t rehash here. But his loss was major, as well.

To supplement his roster, Pat Riley brought in six new guys, none of whom inspired much confidence from the fan base. Miami’s team president played the odds and signed Luke Babbitt, Derrick Williams and James Johnson in the hopes that the three combined would fill the Bosh void.

Afterwards, when most thought the team was set, news broke that Dion Waiters was being brought in to replace the best player in franchise history. And, as we’ll get to, it wasn’t a complete disaster!

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra deserves a ton of credit for getting this band of misfits to finish the season with 30 wins in 41 tries. But even more praise should go to the players themselves. Some simply lived up to expectations, while other far surpassed them.

As a fun exercise, why don’t we examine every player who saw action this season, and assign each an individual grade. We’ll go in order of minutes played. Starting us off, a staple of Heat basketball since 2002-03 and a guy who could very well be the next mayor of Miami.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

PF/C Udonis Haslem

Final 2016-17 averages:

  • Raw Stats
    • 17 games played, 47.8 field-goal percentage, 0-for-3 from three, 60.0 free-throw percentage, 1.8 points, 2.1 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.1 blocks, 0.5 turnovers
  • Advanced Metrics
    • 0.2 Win Shares (387th overall), -0.1 Value Over Replacement Player (335th), -3.7 Box Plus/Minus (368th), -9.79 Total Points Added (214th)

Udonis Haslem

PF/C, Miami Heat

A

Udonis Haslem only appeared in 17 games this season, playing a grand total of 130 minutes all year. Regardless, his various contributions to the team warrant the grade he received. Haslem played the role of mentor to Hassan Whiteside and Willie Reed while serving as an extra coach for Spoelstra. Miami’s veteran big man has been with the franchise for his entire career, and that will continue next year, as he has made it clear he plans to return. Every good team needs a guy with championship pedigree on the roster, to be a leader when things get hard and help push the younger players along. It would be impossible to find someone more fitting for that role with the Heat than U.D.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

SF/PF Derrick Williams

Final 2016-17 averages (as a member of the Heat):

  • Raw Stats
    • 25 games played, 39.4 field-goal percentage, 20.0 three-point percentage, 62.0 free-throw percentage, 0.4 threes, 5.9 points, 2.9 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.2 blocks, 0.6 turnovers 
  • Advanced Metrics
    • 1.1 Win Shares (301st), -0.4 Value Over Replacement Player (438th), -4.1 Box Plus/Minus (390th), -67.32 Total Points Added (419th)

Derrick Williams

SF/PF, Miami Heat

F

If I could use one word to describe the Derrick Williams signing, I would go with: Flop. I don’t need much more evidence to back that claim than his advanced metrics, which, despite his age, are in some cases even worse than Haslem’s, who’s essentially a coach at this point in his career. Williams was simply a bad fit with Spoelstra, and I mean that purely in a basketball sense. He is a poor defender, who doesn’t have a discernible skill — be it shooting, driving or distributing — to warrant playing time. The big man does deserve credit for handling the situation with class, heaping praise upon Riley even after his Feb. 6 release. (He referred to Miami’s team president as a, “man of his word,” on Twitter.) After he got cut, the Cleveland Cavaliers picked him up and guess what? He doesn’t leave the bench for them, either. That’s really all you need to know about him.

Best performance of the season:

What does it say that Williams’ only good game as a member of the Heat came in a 30-point loss?

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

PF/C Josh McRoberts

Final 2016-17 averages:

  • Raw Stats
    • 22 games played, 37.3 field-goal percentage, 41.9 three-point percentage, 66.7 free-throw percentage, 0.6 threes, 4.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.2 blocks, 1.0 turnover
  • Advanced Metrics
    • 0.3 Win Shares (370th), 0.0 Value Over Replacement Player (280th), -2.4 Box Plus/Minus (296th), -18.13 Total Points Added (261st)

Josh McRoberts

PF/C, Miami Heat

INC

Much like his first two seasons in Miami, Josh McRoberts yet again struggled to stay healthy. He played multiple roles this season, coming off the bench as a backup center early on before transitioning into being the starting power forward next to Whiteside. But whatever his position, his play was poor. And as if his production wasn’t disappointing enough, around Christmas, he was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his foot, thus ending his 2016-17 campaign. He still has another year left in his contract, but I believe it would benefit both parties to move on this summer. I give it 50/50 odds he’s a member of the Heat to start next season, and if he is, he will most likely either be waived or traded by the 2018 NBA Trade Deadline. Call it a hunch.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

SF/PF Okaro White

Final 2016-17 averages:

  • Raw Stats
    • 35 games played, 37.9 field-goal percentage, 35.3 three-point percentage, 90.9 free-throw percentage, 0.3 threes, 2.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.3 blocks, 0.5 turnovers
  • Advanced Metrics
    • 0.6 Win Shares (337th), 0.0 Value Over Replacement Player (271st), -2.2 Box Plus/Minus (286th), -20.55 Total Points Added (274th) 

Okaro White

SF/PF, Miami Heat

B

Okaro White was signed from Miami’s D-League team (the Sioux Falls Skyforce) around when McRoberts went down, and Waiters suffered an ankle injury, because the NBA granted the Heat a provision to add an extra player due to hardship from injuries. It took about two weeks for Spoelstra to realize they had something in White, something that warranted a longer look. Thus, when Waiters returned, instead of waiving White and sending him back to the D-League, the Heat released Williams. Although White’s numbers don’t really jump off the screen, his value lies in his defensive versatility. He can comfortably guard 3s or 4s, and even some 2-guards. Further, the Heat boasted a +9.7 net rating when White was on the floor this season. Goran Dragic went as far as to compare him to a new-age Shane Battier type. Though he may never live up to that lofty billing, he’s definitely an interesting young player, and if his three can become more consistent, his future as a 3-and-D specialist could be very bright.

Best performance of the season:

The Heat take an embarrassing loss to the Brooklyn Nets without White’s late three and block of Brook Lopez. For that, I will be forever grateful. Losing to the tanking Nets would have been scarring.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

SF/PF Justise Winslow

Final 2016-17 averages:

  • Raw Stats
    • 18 games played, 35.6 field-goal percentage, 20.0 three-point percentage, 61.7 free-throw percentage, 0.4 threes, 10.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.3 blocks, 1.8 turnovers
  • Advanced Metrics
    • -0.1 Win Shares (452nd), -0.1 Value Over Replacement Player (355th), -2.7 Box Plus/Minus (323rd), -33.47 Total Points Added (328th)

Justise Winslow

SF/PF, Miami Heat

INC

18 games is far too small of a sample size to warrant a grade, so, like McRoberts, Justise Winslow gets an incomplete. Overall, however, we saw more bad than good from him this season. His numbers may have gone up across the board, to very respectable 10.9-point, 5.2-rebound and 3.7-assist averages, to go with 1.5 steals per game. But his shooting splits of 35.6/20.0/61.7 were disappointing. We knew he would struggle with his shooting coming out of college, but not even the biggest Winslow antagonist thought he would also be so poor near the basket. On the year, the sophomore wing shot 47.3 percent on shots within five feet of the rim, a clip lower than Kay Felder. And his 37.1 effective field goal percentage is ninth-worst among guys who played in at least 15 games. Regardless, he’s still just 20 years old, and he has shown he can defend multiple positions, along with being a creative passer. Still way too early to formulate a long-term opinion on Winslow, but he may be best served coming off the bench in 2017-18.

Best performance of the season:

Twenty-three points, 13 rebounds, three assists and four steals on 10-for-16 shooting, this was easily the best performance of Winslow’s young career.

It did come against the lowly Lakers, but he showed a consistent spin move from the post and in transition, an ability to finish in traffic (which is usually a weakness of his) along with his typical defense and distribution.

If this was a glimpse of his potential, it was a mighty impressive one. Summer League is going to be vitally important for his development.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

PF/C Willie Reed

Final 2016-17 averages:

  • Raw Stats
    • 71 games played, 56.8 field-goal percentage, 1-for-5 from three, 55.7 free-throw percentage, 5.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.7 blocks, 0.4 turnovers
  • Advanced Metrics
    • 3.6 Win Shares (130th), 0.4 Value Over Replacement Player (175th), -0.5 Box Plus/Minus (177th), -10.22 Total Points Added (215th)

Willie Reed

PF/C, Miami Heat

B+

How nice would it have been for Willie Reed (or, obviously, Whiteside), to come along during the Big Three era? Though Reed’s raw stats aren’t all that impressive, he quietly had an excellent season manning the 5 behind Whiteside. On the year, he scored 1.13 points per possession when he was the pick-and-roll “Roll Man”, a higher rate than Anthony Davis, Marcin Gortat and Steven Adams. He’s got great hands, can finish near the rim and protect the paint. He boasted a +1.1 net rating when he saw the floor, and overall, did everything you could ask from a backup center. He’s set to hit free agency this summer, and could land a fairly healthy deal from a big man-hungry team. Hopefully, Riley finds a way to bring him back on a reasonable contract.

Best performance of the season:

Whiteside missed the first four games of the 2017 calendar year due to an eye laceration. (Ouch.) In his stead, Reed nodded four starts in a row, averaging 13.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.5 steals and 2.0 blocks, on 65.0 percent shooting.

If he were named a full-time starter, could he do that consistently? Probably not, but it wouldn’t surprise me for a team in need of a center to promise him a chance to win a starting job, along with more money than the Heat would feel comfortable offering.

I say there is about a 75 percent chance he’s wearing a different jersey to start the 2017-18 season, but I hope I’m wrong. Reed is really sneaky good.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

PF/C Luke Babbitt

Final 2016-17 averages:

  • Raw Stats
    • 68 games played, 40.2 field-goal percentage, 41.4 three-point percentage, 73.3 free-throw percentage, 1.3 threes, 4.8 points, 2.1 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.2 blocks, 0.4 turnovers
  • Advanced Metrics
    • 1.8 Win Shares (242nd), 0.1 Value Over Replacement Player (239th), -1.8 Box Plus/Minus (260th), -38.02 Total Points Added (347th)

Luke Babbitt

PF/C, Miami Heat

C

Luke Babbitt’s 2016-17 campaign can be defined as perfectly average, thus his “C” grade. Although many didn’t expect him to win the starting job, the McRoberts injury allowed him to take the role and not relinquish it. Babbitt’s numbers are lackluster, but his ability to knock down open threes (42.3 percent on shots beyond the arc considered “wide open” by NBA.com) gave Miami’s kick-and-drive offense the room needed to operate. His defense also progressively got better as the year wore on. Babbitt is limited, but his effort can never be questioned. He’s another guy set to hit the open market this summer, and if he doesn’t return, his absence would be felt. If he does re-sign with the Heat, he would be a nice piece off the bench.

Best performance of the season:

If Babbitt does return, can we start calling him the “Flat-Footed Flamethrower”? Because, you see, he gets zero lift on his jumper, but will knock down shots if you leave him open.

The floor-spacing big had a 40-game stretch for the Heat where he converted 45.9 percent of his threes. (Coach Spoelstra can turn just about any player into a serviceable piece… sorry, D. Williams.)

NBA Power Rankings

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

SG Dion Waiters

Final 2016-17 averages:

  • Raw Stats
    • 46 games played, 42.3 field-goal percentage, 39.4 three-point percentage, 64.6 free-throw percentage, 1.8 threes, 15.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.4 blocks, 2.2 turnovers
  • Advanced Metrics
    • 1.6 Win Shares (254th), 0.4 Value Over Replacement Player (188th), -0.9 Box Plus/Minus (207th), -24.7 Total Points Added (290th)

Dion Waiters

SG, Miami Heat

B+

First and foremost, disregard all of Waiters’ porous advanced metrics. He only played in 46 games, and was fully healthy in (at best) half of them. When not laboring through ailment, Waiters averaged 18.9 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.9 assists on 46.1 percent shooting, and 44.2 percent from three. Will that 24-game sample size be enough to land him a huge contract offer? It’s tough to tell, as different reports state contrasting opinions on the matter. What’s for sure is that if Waiters had played in at least 60 games this season, his grade would have been an A+. It’s impossible to replace Wade, but the Heat’s new shooting guard certainly did his best to help us get over the painful breakup. His game-winning three against the Golden State Warriors was, without a doubt, the highlight of the season.

Best performance of the season:

Over Easter weekend, as the team had a final dinner together, Heat owner Micky Arison posted a comforting message on Instagram.

I know, that’s a tweet, just bear with me for a second! (Sheesh.) Arison posted the same picture on Instagram, but with a different caption, one that read, “The Miami Heat future looks very bright.” In addition to that hint, Waiters has also made it clear he wants to return to Miami.

I won’t say it’s a certainty he’ll be back, but it seems very, very likely. And that’s great news for fans of the Heat. Waiters Island forever.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

SG Wayne Ellington

Final 2016-17 averages:

  • Raw Stats
    • 62 games played, 41.6 field-goal percentage, 37.8 three-point percentage, 86.0 free-throw percentage, 2.4 threes, 10.5 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.1 blocks, 0.5 turnovers
  • Advanced Metrics
    • 3.3 Win Shares (146th), 0.7 Value Over Replacement Player (146th), -0.2 Box Plus/Minus (150th), -5.95 Total Points Added (184th)

Wayne Ellington

SG, Miami Heat

B+

Miami’s best three-point shooter, Wayne Ellington, had an entire section of the playbook dedicated to getting him open from deep. The only other guy who can make a similar claim during Spo’s tenure? Ray Allen. Ellington was a beloved teammate, an okay defender (effort was never an issue) and, most importantly, deadly from three-point range. Among players who attempted at least one wide-open three per game (no defender within six feet, per NBA.com), Ellington was second overall league-wide, converting an astounding 55.3 percent. The vet shooting guard has a team option for 2017-18. If the Heat strike out with their top targets (like Blake Griffin and Gordon Hayward), they should have more than enough to bring Ellington back next year.

Best performance of the season:

Ellington missed the first month of the season due to a hip bruise suffered during the last game of the preseason. His second game back, against the Denver Nuggets, gave Miami a glimpse of who he was: five threes, 22 points and the ability to break a game open from deep.

Ellington is the prototypical bench player on good-to-great teams. His play this season did not disappoint.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

PG/SG Josh Richardson

Final 2016-17 averages:

  • Raw Stats
    • 53 games played, 39.4 field-goal percentage, 33.0 three-point percentage, 77.9 free-throw percentage, 1.4 threes, 10.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.8 blocks, 1.2 turnovers
  • Advanced Metrics
    • 2.2 Win Shares (210th), 0.9 Value Over Replacement Player (127th), 0.1 Box Plus/Minus (137th), 3.2 Total Points Added (132nd)

Josh Richardson

PG/SG, Miami Heat

B-

Just like about half the roster, Josh Richardson’s 2016-17 campaign was marred by injury. He suffered an MCL sprain during training camp that forced him to miss pivotal practice time, preaseason and the first four games of the year. Rusty play and more injuries affected the rest of his season, until he finally found a semblance of health starting in late February. He came on quite strong to close the year, filling in for Waiters; over the final 13 games of 2017, all starts for Richardson, he averaged 12.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.5 blocks, on pristine shooting splits of 43.2/41.9/81.0. His late play bumped his overall grade up into the “B” range.

Best performance of the season:

Biggest game of the season, Richardson came up huge on both ends. The young guy is filled to the brim with potential as an explosive two-way shooting guard. This summer will be an important step in his development.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

SG/SF/HoneyBadger Rodney McGruder

Final 2016-17 averages:

  • Raw Stats
    • 78 games played, 41.3 field-goal percentage, 33.2 three-point percentage, 62.0 free-throw percentage, 0.9 threes, 6.4 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.2 blocks, 0.7 turnovers
  • Advanced Metrics
    • 2.9 Win Shares (170th), 0.8 Value Over Replacement Player (141st), -0.4 Box Plus/Minus (165th), 11.69 Total Points Added (227th) 

Rodney McGruder

SG/SF, Miami Heat

B+

Rodney McGruder wasn’t even supposed to make the team, let alone start 65 games. And yet, he did both, and was a vital part of the team’s 30-11 record to close the season. McGruder doesn’t do anything all that well — he’s a below-average three-point shooter, doesn’t really score, is too small to defend most wings — and yet, he performed more than admirably in his role. He is an absolutely tenacious defender (he got under the skin of multiple big-name guys, Paul George first and foremost) and knows his limitations. McGruder can often be found on the wings or the corners, and when he does get the ball, will either shoot the open shot, drive in and nail his unorthodox floater, or find one of his bigs for an alley. The experience he gained this year will be so vital as he moves into a reserve role next year. Can you imagine the damage McGruder is going to do against second units in brief spurts? I cannot wait to see backup point guards try and bring the ball down past his pressure.

Best performance of the season:

The second-to-last clip in that highlight video shows McGruder coming up with an important loose ball and nailing the game-sealing layup. I have never seen a guy come up with as many loose balls as he does, which is why Dragic dubbed him The Scavenger.

Fitting nickname, though I’m partial to calling him the Honey Badger myself. McGruder don’t care, he just wants to win.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

PF James Johnson

Final 2016-17 averages:

  • Raw Stats
    • 76 games played, 47.9 field-goal percentage, 34.1 three-point percentage, 70.7 free-throw percentage, 1.1 threes, 12.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.0 steal, 1.1 blocks, 2.3 turnovers
  • Advanced Metrics
    • 5.1 Win Shares (70th), 2.5 Value Over Replacement Player (40th), 2.7 Box Plus/Minus (45th), 111.66 Total Points Added (41st)

James Johnson

PF, Miami Heat

A+

Positional versatility coupled with non-stop effort embodies who James Johnson is, and that’s why he’s the model Heat player. After years of withering away (or, well, the opposite; he got fat) on other culture-less teams, Johnson found a home in Miami, and, after being challenged by Riley and Spoelstra, decided he wanted to be more than the 10th man on a good team. The veteran big set career-highs all across the board, particularly from three, and endeared himself to Heat fans everywhere. On the year, Miami was +3.6 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor. What’s more, when Babbitt went down with injury with five games left in the regular season, it was Johnson who took his place with the starting unit. As a starter, he averaged 18.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.8 blocks on 50.7/32.0/73.3 percent shooting splits. I would file those numbers away under “Not Bad”.

Best performance of the season:

Thankfully, it appears Arison knows what he has in Johnson and I would be very surprised if he wasn’t a member of the Heat heading into 2017-18. He’s done enough to be considered a strong candidate to be Miami’s starting power forward next season.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

PG/SG Tyler Johnson

Final 2016-17 averages:

  • Raw Stats
    • 73 games played, 43.3 field-goal percentage, 37.2 three-point percentage, 76.8 free-throw percentage, 1.3 threes,13.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.6 blocks, 1.2 turnovers
  • Advanced Metrics
    • 5.8 Win Shares (58th), 1.9 Value Over Replacement Player (57th), 1.4 Box Plus/Minus (77th), 60.48 Total Points Added (65th) 

Tyler Johnson

PG/SG, Miami Heat

A-

Tyler Johnson quietly had an excellent season for the Heat. He became one of just seven players all-time to average at least 13.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists, with fewer than 1.5 turnovers per game. The other guys include role-playing studs like Dan Majerle, Tayshaun Prince and Brad Miller, and actual stars like Al Horford and Jimmy Butler. T. Johnson is also one of the team’s best perimeter defenders, who can surprise you with high-flying blocks when you least expect it. If he sees a modicum of improvement from three, and with his play-making abilities, Johnson has the potential to become a Manu Ginobili-type off the bench for Miami. He’s that good.

Best performance of the season:

How did this guy go undrafted?

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

PG Goran Dragic

Final 2016-17 averages:

  • Raw Stats
    • 73 games played, 47.6 field-goal percentage, 40.6 three-point percentage, 79.0 free-throw percentage, 1.6 threes, 20.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.2 blocks, 2.9 turnovers
  • Advanced Metrics
    • 7.6 Win Shares (35th), 2.9 Value Over Replacement Player (29th), 2.7 Box Plus/Minus (43rd), 131.68 Total Points Added (32nd)

Goran Dragic

PG, Miami Heat

A

After somewhat struggling during his first year and a half with Miami, Dragic finally found his stride in 2016-17. He enjoyed the second best season of his career, though it can even be argued that he was better this year than in 2013-14, when he was voted Third Team All-NBA as a member of the Phoenix Suns. Dragic was borderline-elite from three while improving his off-the-dribble scoring this year, and also maintained his excellence finishing around the basket (though he did get a bit worse in this facet). He even got better as a defender. With Wade gone, the Slovenian point guard was able to take the reins of the offense and make it his own. Moreover, his fit with Waiters, as two downhill, unabashed attackers, cannot be overlooked. The two make quite the duo, one that we hopefully see for years to come.

Best performance of the season:

Dragic’s Nov. 28 outing against the Celtics totaled 27 points on 15 shots, without making a three, to go with 17 assists. That stat line is the only one of its kind since 1983-84. Absurd.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

C Hassan Whiteside

Final 2016-17 averages:

  • Raw Stats
    • 77 games played, 55.7 field-goal percentage, 62.8 free-throw percentage, 17.0 points, 14.1 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.7 steals, 2.1 blocks, 2.0 turnovers
  • Advanced Metrics
    • 9.4 Win Shares (21st), 1.0 Value Over Replacement Player (108th), -0.5 Box Plus/Minus (170th), -24.92 Total Points Added (292nd)

Hassan Whiteside

C, Miami Heat

B

The Heat big man showed signs of improved maturity to close the year. With Miami in the thick of a heated playoff race, Whiteside suffered a cut between two fingers which required 13 stitches. How many games did he sit out? Zero. And not only that, he may have had the best showing of his career on April 8 against the Washington Wizards, in a game the Heat absolutely had to win. That’s with the stitches still in his hand. Coach Spoelstra heaped praises on him over the last couple of months of the season, mentioning how Whiteside no longer chased stats, but rather wins. The proof is in the pudding. His blocks per game went down, but Miami’s defense was elite in rim protection, and finished the season ranked fifth-overall in defensive rating. That doesn’t happen with the Whiteside of last year, who would often leave his man wide open for putbacks while he would go after implausible blocks. The mercurial center definitely grew up this year, and if he continues to do so, the Heat’s defense — and overall outlook — will only get better.

Best performance of the season:

Despite evidence firmly against him, I’m very much a Whiteside believer. It’s just strange to see a player ranked 21st in one metric (win shares), while ranking in the 100s in three others. Part of that has to do with his paltry assist-to-turnover numbers (57-to-154 in 2016-17).

Though he still needs to become a more willing passer, he had various multi-assist games over the closing months of the year. At the very least, there are signs he’s capable of doing it. Next year will be all about consistency.

The Heat will only go as far as Whiteside does. If he manages to improve his overall impact, rather than just affecting the box score, Miami is a piece or two away from contention. But if he reverts back to his old ways, the path becomes much more arduous.

All stats provided by NBA.com, Basketball Reference or NBA Math, unless otherwise noted. 

This article originally appeared on