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Eastern Notes: Whiteside, Roberts, Russell

Hassan Whiteside is finally getting an opportunity to prove that he is an NBA-caliber player after toiling away overseas and in the D-League, Steve Aschburner of writes. When asked how he feels about getting his chance to play for the Heat, Whiteside said, “It’s a blessing, you know. I told my teammates, man, you won’t believe how things work out in life. Three months ago, you can ask anybody in Charlotte at the downtown [YMCA], I was just there. At the downtown Y, just chillin’. Workin’ on my game. I couldn’t even get a team to pick up the phone.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • With starting point guard Kemba Walker expected to miss a minimum of six weeks due to a a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee, Brian Roberts is the player who will be called upon to contribute more for the Hornets, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes. “Here’s another opportunity for me to step up and help this team win games,” Roberts said. “It’s a challenge and everybody has to step up and take a little bit more ownership. Filling that void will be a group effort.
  • The Pacers are high on Ohio State combo guard D’Angelo Russell, but even as Indiana’s lottery chances improve, Russell’s improvement will make it tough for a team without a top-five pick to nab him, as Chad Ford of writes amid a chat with readers.
  • The Pacers have assigned rookie big man Shayne Whittington to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the team has announced. This will be Indiana’s first utilization of the D-League this season. In 13 appearances for the Pacers this season,Whittington has averaged 2.0 points and 1.2 rebounds in 4.5 minutes per game.

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