In the middle of the second quarter during Tuesday’s win over the Pistons, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra pulled Hassan Whiteside out of the game for a conference on the sideline. Spoelstra has done this before, and it hasn’t always produced the results he wanted. This one seemed to work, though.
While Spoelstra declined to reveal what he and Whiteside discussed, he was happy with his reaction to it.
“It was a couple teaching points I wanted to make, and the only way to make it was to take him out,” Spoelstra said. “And he made some adjustments to that. I’ll probably continue to do that because his energy was very good after that point. And he was doing some good things even before that point.”
After Whiteside went back in, Spoelstra got fired up watching him work for space in the post, not find any, then make the correct choice to kick the ball back out to the perimeter. Here’s the video:
Whiteside thoroughly enjoyed that interaction.
“I thought his suit was too tight to give a high five, but he pulled it off,” he said. “He surprised me.”
As far as their conversation earlier in the quarter, Whiteside didn’t want to get into it.
What did he tell you?
“I think he just pulled me out to get some rest. He told me a couple things he seen out there.”
What did he want you to do?
“He said just keep blocking everything.”
That’s probably not what he said.
“That is what he said.”
He said he had some teaching for you and you responded well.
“I love Spo.”
Have you grown as far as adjusting within a game?
“The learning never stops with me and Spo. He always wants perfection from me. He’s always saying I can do something better. Every day is a learning experience. That’s what he’s there to do. He’s there to teach and make me the best player I can be.”
Are you better at taking coaching now than you were your first time in the NBA?
“I wasn’t ever a bad guy to coach… I think I’ve got a better understanding of the game than I did because I’m older, I’m more mature and I understand how important it is to eat breakfast. I’m getting better — better with basketball, better with Snaps. I think y’all enjoy that.”