MIAMI — Based on Hassan Whiteside’s stat line, he deserves to be an All-Star.
The Heat’s $98 million center entered Thursday’s game against the Mavericks averaging 17.4 points and 14.3 rebounds per game.
Since the 1975-76 season, players have finished a season averaging at least 17 points and 14 rebounds per game 19 times. 18 of those seasons included a trip to the All-Star game with Kevin Love as the only player on the list who did receive the honor when he missed the All-Star Game during the 2012-13 season with the Timberwolves.
Whiteside is in danger of becoming the second player to miss out on the All-Star Game with that impressive stat line. The All-Star starters — decided by a combination of fan, media and player voting — were announced Thursday night and Goran Dragic and Whiteside were not on the list.
The Eastern Conference All-Star starters are Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan, Bulls forward Jimmy Butler, Cavaliers forward LeBron James and Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Western Conference All-Star starters are Warriors guard Stephen Curry, Rockets guard James Harden, Warriors forward Kevin Durant, Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard and Pelicans center Anthony Davis.
According to the NBA, Whiteside finished 11th in the fan vote, 14th in the player vote, and eighth in the media vote among Eastern Conference frontcourt players. Dragic finished 17th in the fan vote, tied for 15th in the player vote, and did not receive a vote from the media among Eastern Conference guards.
Dragic and Whiteside’s only hope of earning a trip to the Feb. 19 All-Star game in New Orleans is as a reserve. Eastern Conference coaches will vote for the conference’s seven reserves with the names scheduled to be announced next Thursday.
And if Dragic and Whiteside do get voted in, it won’t be because the Heat pitched their players to other coaches.
“We don’t send out stuff to recruit,” coach Erik Spoelstra said before Thursday’s game against Dallas. “You either earn it or you don’t. I have a box of things from other organizations. That does not typically influence me and my decision. It’s based on play, not based on marketing gimmicks.”
With Whiteside’s numbers usually landing players in the All-Star Game, he feels like if his name was not attached to his statistics the All-Star voting “would be different.”
“You put my numbers up and just don’t put a face up there I feel like the (voting) numbers would be different,” Whiteside said earlier this week. “Just my honest opinion. I feel like if you put a blackout screen and just put my numbers up there people (would say), ‘Oh, man, how is he not an All-Star?’ I feel like that’s what it is. Who likes who.”
The last time the Heat were not represented in the All-Star Game was in 2004.
Among Whiteside and Dragic’s competition for an Eastern Conference reserve spot in the All-Star game is Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, Wizards guard John Wall, Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, Pacers forward Paul George, Hornets guard Kemba Walker, Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, and Pistons center Andre Drummond.
When Love missed out on the All-Star Game despite averaging 18.3 points and 14 rebounds per game during the 2012-13 season, the Timberwolves finished with a 31-51 record. A losing record could cost Whiteside, too, as the Heat entered Thursday with the NBA’s second-worst record.
“We typically go for guys that make an imprint on your mind,” Spoelstra said of how he votes for the All-Star Game’s reserves. “I think that’s the biggest compliment in terms of impacting winning and playing at an extremely high level. It’s the guys that just stand out in your mind. And those are usually guys that are impacting winning. That’s usually what I think probably all the coaches vote for.”