Heat center Hassan Whiteside is not happy he is not more prominently featured in the NBA’s countdown of the top 50 blocks of the 2015-16 season.
Whiteside appeared once on the video, his block on Charlotte’s Marvin Williams in early February ranking No. 7. But Whiteside didn’t just block the shot, he caught it with his right hand and then started the fastbreak with an outlet pass to Goran Dragic.
In that 98-95 Heat victory, Whiteside recorded a triple double off the bench with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocks.
Whiteside led the NBA with 3.68 blocks per game. He 269 blocks were 92 more than runner-up DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers. When a Twitter follower wondered why just one of Whiteside’s blocks made the video, the Heat center responded:
The NBA never gave me much love most of the block go out of bounds and give the team the ball back guess that's cooler Shrugs
Heat owner Mickey Arison even chimed in about block, tweeting at Whiteside a quote from Alonzo Mourning about what it means to keep a blocked shot in play. Zo is the Heat’s all-time leader with 1,625 blocked shots in 11 seasons. But his 2.7 blocks per game is second to Whiteside’s 3.2 per game.
Wade’s mother, Jolinda Wade, a pastor at New Creation church, spoke on behalf of the family Friday outside the hospital where Aldridge was pronounced dead.
“Just sat up on a panel yesterday. … talking about the violence that’s going on within our city of Chicago, never knowing that the next day we would be the ones that would be actually living and experiencing it,” Jolinda Wade said as she held her sister.
“We’re still going to try and help these people to transform their minds and give them a different direction, so this thing won’t keep happening. We’re still going to help empower people like the one who senselessly shot my niece in the head.”
Dwyane and his mother were part of a series of panel discussions on gun violence hosted Thursday by The Undefeated on ESPN and held at the South Side YMCA in Chicago. Dwyane was not in Chicago for the discussions, appearing via satellite.
Following the discussion and less than 24 hours before his cousin was killed, Wade posted: “Every 16 mins someone in Chicago is killed by a firearm.”
Meanwhile, Trump took to Twitter to attempt to exploit the tragedy connecting the shooting to a reason why African-Americans will vote for him for president. Trump spelled Wade’s first name wrong in his initial tweet.
Dwyane Wade's cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago. Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!
It is not the first time Trump has tried to exploit a tragedy. In the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando that left 50 dead, including the gunman, Trump took to Twitter to congratulate himself:
Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don't want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!
Nykea Aldridge, 32, had recently relocated to an area on the city’s South Side, her family said.
According to police, Aldridge, 32, was pushing a baby stroller near a school where she intended to register her children when two males walked up and fired shots at a third man. Aldridge, who wasn’t the intended target, was struck in the head and arm. Police said the baby wasn’t hurt and that a relative has taken custody of the child.
The school is about a mile and a half southwest of the University of Chicago.
Police are questioning two men who they say are persons of interest, according to reports.
The Bulls later issued a statement, saying the organization was “deeply saddened” by the news of Aldridge’s death.
Actually, the real number is 38.3, which puts the Heat No. 10 in the East, two spots being Indiana (38.9), which would grab the final playoff spot at No. 8. Atlanta is ninth with a projected 38.6 wins.
The top spots in the East go to Cleveland (52.1), Boston (49.8), Toronto 48.8) and Detroit (47.5).
The West looks like this: Golden State (66.8), San Antonio (54.5), Utah (47.5) and the Clippers (46.3).
The Heat are coming off a 48-34 season in which it lost Game 7 at Toronto in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Heat, though, lost starters Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson and Luol Deng in free agency and still are unsure about the status of Chris Bosh, who has missed the second half of the last two seasons because of blood clots.
Miami was 37-45 two years ago.
This is how the RPM works according to ESPN: The RPM estimates a player’s on-court impact on team performance, measured in net point differential per 100 offensive and defensive possessions. RPM takes into account teammates, opponents and additional factors. When used along with playing time projections, it’s proved to be a very accurate predictive tool overall.
For the last week we brought you the top 5 players at each position in Heat history. The lists span all 28 years of the Heat with three players from this year’s team making the top five at his position, several players from the early (pre-Pat Riley) years and many more from title winners and the playoff teams of the late 1990s.
Here are the top players form each position, or our starting five:
PG – Tim Hardaway
SG – Dwyane Wade
SF – LeBron James
PF – Chris Bosh
C – Alonzo Mourning
Which got me thinking, how would this team stack up against the top 5 from the nine other franchises that have won at least two championships. Here are the all-time starting fives for the Bulls, Celtics, Knicks, Lakers, Pistons, Rockets, 76ers, Spurs, and Warriors.
Where do the Heat rank?
PG – Derrick Rose
SG – Michael Jordan
SF – Scottie Pippen
PF – Bob Love
C – Artis Gilmore
PG – Bob Cousy
SG – John Havlicek
SF – Larry Bird
PF – Kevin McHale
C – Bill Russell
PG – Walt Frazier
SG – Earl Monroe
SF – Carmelo Anthony
PF – Willis Reed
C – Patrick Ewing
PG – Magic Johnson
SG – Kobe Bryant
SF – Elgin Baylor
PF – James Worthy
C – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
PG – Isiah Thomas
SG – Joe Dumars
SF – Grant Hill
PF – Dave DeBusschere
C – Bob Lanier
PG – Calvin Murphy
SG – James Harden
SF – Rudy Tomjanovich
PF – Moses Malone
C – Hakeem Olajuwon
PG – Allen Iverson
SG – Hal Greer
SF – Julius Erving
PF – Charles Barkley
C – Wilt Chamberlain
PG – Tony Parker
SG – Manu Ginobili
SF – George Gervin
PF – Tim Duncan
C – David Robinson
PG – Stephen Curry
SG – Chris Mullin
SF – Rick Barry
PF – Nate Thurmond
C – Wilt Chamberlain
Here is how I rank the all-time starting fives from the NBA’s most iconic franchises
* The Heat play just five nationally-televised games, down from 11 last year. Two of those are against Dwyane Wade and the Bulls, Nov. 10 at home on TNT and Jan. 27 in Chicago on ESPN. Others include Dec. 14 at home vs. Indiana on ESPN, Feb. 27 at Dallas on TNT, Mar. 3 at Orlando on ESPN.
* The Heat will play 15 sets of back-to-back games, two fewer than last season. Seven of those are both on the road, five have Miami playing on the road followed by a home game and three have the Heat at home and then traveling for a game the next night. Just once does the Heat play four games in five nights; Dec. 6 vs. the Knicks, Dec. 7 at Atlanta, Dec. 9 at Cleveland, Dec. 10 at Chicago.
* Miami plays four Eastern Conference opponents three times; Brooklyn, Chicago, Indiana and New York with two home games against Indiana and NY and two road games against Brooklyn and Chicago. Miami plays two home games and two away against all other teams in the East and one home and one away against all Western Conference teams.
* The longest homestand is six games from Dec. 12-22 with games against Washington, Indiana, the Clippers, Boston, Orlando and the Lakers. The longest road trip is six games from Jan. 3-13 with games at Phoenix, Sacramento, the Lakers, the Clippers, Golden State and Milwaukee.
* 37 games will be played on weekends including 17 in Miami, four on Friday, eight on Saturday and five on Sunday.
* The Heat’s busiest months are December and March with 16 games each. December is split evenly home and away, March includes 10 home games.
* The Heat open the season on the road (Oct. 26 at Orlando) for the ninth time in franchise history and the first time in five years. The last time Miami opened on the road was Dec. 25, 2011. at Dallas in the lockout shortened season.
* The Heat will not play on Christmas Day for just second time in the last 13 years and the first time since 2008.
* The Heat will play on New Year’s Day (at home vs. Detroit) for the second straight year and the seventh time in franchise history. Miami is 6-0 on New Year’s Day.
* The schedule includes just one game that starts before 6 p.m., 3:30 p.m. Jan. 8 at the Clippers.
* Partial ticket plans will go on sale Aug. 19 and single game tickets can be purchased starting Sept. 16. Tickets can be purchased by going to the team’s website, heat.com. For more information on tickets got to heat.com, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 786-777-4667.
Miami Heat owner Micky Arison penned an open letter to fans late Thursday, addressing the “challenging summer” which saw Miami lose icon Dwyane Wade and talking about his excitement when it comes to the Heat’s new look 2016-17 team.
Arison then talked about the highs and the lows over the past 21 years, quoting president Pat Riley who said one of the only things you can count on in life that is permanent is change.
“We need to understand and embrace change as part of sports; in fact, part of life.”
Arison concluded by saying his expects the team from Riley, coach Erik Spoelstra and “veterans Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, Goran Dragic and Josh McRoberts” to the “young core of Hassan Whiteside, Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson and Tyler Johnson” to the newcomers to continue the team’s traditions.
“I’m excited about this team and I’m confident you will enjoy watching us play this season.”
That will change this season when James and the Cleveland Cavaliers came to AmericanAirlines Arena to face the Heat on March 4 and April 10.
Cleveland defeated the Golden State Warriors in seven game in June to capture its first title and the city’s first championship in 52 years. James was named the Finals MVP, just as he was in 2012, 2013 when he lead the Heat to back-to-back titles.
James left Cleveland for Miami in 2010 and returned to the Cavaliers after leading Miami to four consecutive Finals appearances. His first season in Cleveland ended with the Cavaliers losing in the Finals to the Warriors before avenging that loss in June.
The Heat will travel to Cleveland on Dec. 9 and March 6.
The Warriors, who won an NBA record 73 games last season and advanced to their second consecutive Finals appearance, will make their only South Florida appearance Jan. 23. Miami plays at Golden State on Jan. 10 as part of a six-game road trip.
The Warriors figure once again to be the NBA most popular road team after adding the top free agent of 2016, Kevin Durant, to a team that already included league scoring leader Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
The Heat are in the process of overhauling their roster, looking for young and athletic players, and it appears that a veteran NBA player wants in.
According to the Miami Herald, Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay has expressed interest in joining the Miami Heat via trade. Gay and the Kings have had a turbulent relationship during his three years with the team, and there is plenty of speculation that the Kings have been looking to trade Gay.
The 29-year-old is a career 45 percent shooter, including a respectable 34 percent from beyond the arc, while averaging 18.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Last season, Gay averaged 17.2 points per contest and rebounded above his career average, grabbing 6.5 boards per game.
While Gay would certainly add a talented scorer and established veteran to the roster, swinging a trade for the forward will be tough for Miami. The Heat made several additions this offseason, and any player signed this month cannot be traded until December, leaving the Heat with only a few assets to work with.
Beyond that, Gay is set to make $13.3 million this season and also holds a $14.2 million player option for next year. That means that if the Heat were to trade for Gay, they would need to send a package of considerable salaries to Sacramento.
According to CBS Sports, possible trade packages that the Heat could craft include a one-for-one trade of Chris Bosh, Hassan Whiteside or Goran Dragic, and the Heat likely aren’t inclined to trade any of those three. The Heat could also offer a package of Josh McRoberts, Udonis Haslem and Josh Richardson, but that is a price tag that seems too steep for the Heat to consider.
Miami’s best bet may be to allow Gay to play out his contract with the Kings and pursue the forward in free agency.
Russell Westbrook is staying in Oklahoma City … for now.
The 27-year-old Westbrook has agreed to a three-year, $85 million-plus maximum contract renegotiation, according to The Vertical. The new contract keeps Westbrook under contract for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons, and he will hold a player option for the 2018-19 season.