The development of Hassan Whiteside this season has given the Heat hope for the future, Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel writes. “He’s learning the game,” Dwyane Wade said. “Every time he steps out there, you can see him getting more comfortable. I think as teammates we are a lot more confident, especially on the defensive end when he’s in. He’s big for us.” Coach Erik Spoelstra credits Whiteside’s growth as a player to the his tireless work ethic, Winderman adds.
Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:
- The Celtics have once again recalled James Young from the Maine Red Claws, their D-League affiliate, the team announced in a press release. This was Young’s eighth stint in the D-League this season, and in eight games with Maine he is averaging 22.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.5 steals in 32.6 minutes per contest.
- With the trade of Rajon Rondo, the Celtics are now in full rebuilding mode, and one issue that has cropped up is that the team now has 15 players with a legitimate reason to believe they should be playing more, Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald writes. “I think everybody can make a case for having even a bigger role than they have,” president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said. “I guess that’s just part of it. I think they all have responded well, and they’re all playing hard and trying to make a case for themselves.”
- It’s possible that the rotation picture will clear up once the February trade deadline passes and the players will feel a better sense of stability, notes Bulpett, but Gerald Wallace has a different take. “But I don’t think so even then because you’ve got a lot of players that are on the last year of their deal,” Wallace said. “So I think once the trade deadline passes, that’s going to probably amp things up more because guys’ lives are at stake, guys’ careers are at stake. They’re on the last year of their deal, and obviously those guys want to be able to play and want to go into the summer in a good position for contract talks. We’ll see.”