MIAMI – Heat center Hassan Whiteside clarified his comments on his Clippers counterpart, DeAndre Jordan.
“I would never diss another big fella,” Whiteside said tonight before the two matched up at AmericanAirlines Arena.
“I’m all for the big guys in the game. But I was just saying on the offensive end our roles were different. Obviously he’s a top three rebounder and one of the best defensive players in the game. I didn’t think I had to explain that, but I see I do. Quote me on that. I’m also good friends with him. He’s a good guy, man. I wasn’t trying to say, ‘Oh, he just could do this or just can do that.’ I was just saying our offensive roles, that’s all I was saying.”
The 7-foot Whiteside was asked Thursday if he shared any similarities with the 6-11 Jordan, also a shot-blocking, defensive-minded center but lacking Whiteside’s offensive skills.
“No,” Whiteside said. “He catches lobs. I shoot jumpers, catch lobs, block shots. I do a lot. He just catches lobs.”
Jordan was first-team All-NBA and All-Defense a year ago. He responded today at the Clippers’ shoot around.
“Hmmm, I do catch lobs,” he said. “I made first-team All-NBA and first-team All-Defense doing that.”
Clippers coach Doc Rivers had no problem with Whiteside expressing his opinion, although Rivers added he did not agree with Whiteside.
“That’s an opinion, there’s nothing wrong with that,” Rivers said. “That’s what he believes.
“Listen, they’re big boys, they’ll figure it out on the floor and then we’ll all talk about it. Let’s wait until after the game.”
Rivers then went on to compliment Whiteside, who leads the league in rebounding and is fourth in blocks. Jordan is third in rebounding and ninth in blocks.
“He does everything,” Rivers said. “He blocks shots, he’s a rebounder. I don’t watch him a lot he’s in the East so I don’t need to watch him a whole bunch.
“You always like guys that didn’t make it and then did make it. You always appreciate guys like that because a lot of guys choose to give up the dream. He didn’t so good for him.”
Whiteside acknowledged his role is different from Jordan’s. Whiteside is asked to be an offensive leader and is second on the Heat in scoring averaging 17.6 points.
The Clippers surround Jordan with scorers like Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and J.J. Redick. Jordan is fifth on the team with an 11.7 scoring average.
“It’s a whole different team,” he said. “My role is different, my role has changed. I got to do a little more on offense, a lot more. I just got a different role, a bigger one.”
Whiteside said he will talk to Jordan before tipoff but said he believes Jordan doesn’t think he was being critical.
“I don’t take anybody less or more each night,” Whiteside said. “I’m pretty consistent trying to do the best I can every night to get us the win. It’s just another person (but) it’s different when you know the person.”
Whiteside said he hung out with Jordan at the Players Tribune.