Welcome to Guts Check by Greg Sylvander. A weekly Miami Heat column aimed at bringing readers my perspective on all the hot topics surrounding the team. You can expect a regular balance of sourced information, analysis and feeling the Heat down in my soul. In the name of Trusting the Spocess, let’s call these weekly columns position-less.
Since we last touched base:
- Won vs Toronto 84-76
- Lost at Orlando 105-85
- Won vs Portland 122-111
Heat record: 26-10, 3rd in the East, 4th best record in the NBA
Harmless Hassan Heckling
A portion of the Heat fanbase, and media for that matter, certainly took a strange position this week.
It appears they reprimanded Heat fans for jeering and booing Hassan Whiteside during Sunday night’s Heat victory over the Portland Trailblazers. Some even accused Heat fans of acting as ugly as Cavs fans did to LeBron James when he visited Cleveland (as a member of the Miami Heat) for the first time after leaving his home state in 2010.
Give me a break.
No batteries were thrown, no obscenity laced outburst in the tunnel, no middle fingers from the stands, no signs with bold insults. Boos and a “We got shooters” chant pale in comparison to anything the folks up in Cleveland dished out towards LBJ. Making the comparison is downright laughable.
Heat fans wanted to give Hassan that type of ovation long before he was traded away.
Whiteside had the opportunity to be the greatest example of Heat Culture in franchise history. He had all the tools, the things you can’t teach, yet appeared unwillingly to learn the things you can.
Heat fans wanted it to work out. I, for one, was in favor of maxing Whiteside in 2016. We saw the triple doubles with blocks, the dominant stat lines and the playful personality. However, all that is endearing if the team is winning and it’s happening within the team construct. Those moments were few and far between.
Heat fans will move on. Don’t flatter the Whiteside apologists by allowing them to think the fanbase is going to acknowledge the Hassan era with a decade of boos. It will only be for the few initial visits.
There just wasn’t enough accomplished on the court or off for Whiteside to remain some type of villain in Miami long term.
The Heat fan’s contempt for Whiteside is much more rooted in disappointment and frustration than malice or ill will.
How ironic is it that Hassan’s reaction to being traded was “We got shooters” and now the Heat having its best collection of shooters since the Big 3 era.
We wish Hassan Whiteside all the best in his life, but we are also happy he is on a different team.
Airplane Mode Activation in Chicago
I have gotten a lot of questions related to the tweet shown below.
Derrick Jones Jr will participate in the Slam Dunk Contest at All Star Weekend.
— Greg Leif Sylvander (@GregSylvander) January 6, 2020
Listen, DJJ hasn’t gotten the official invite yet. (reminder – nowhere did I mention anything about an invitation) So I totally understand the push back and mildly frustrated comments that have came my way regarding my declaration that DJJ will participate.
However, I stick by what I tweeted, that he will participate this February in the Slam Dunk contest. Be a bit more patient for things to become a bit more official. Same goes for Duncan Robinson in the the 3 point shootout.
Healthy Heat? Fingers Crossed
Sounds like the Heat could play their first game fully healthy all season on this upcoming trip. All indications are Jimmy Butler and Justise Winslow will potentially return to the lineup tomorrow in Indy.
This is the moment the front office has been waiting for – that Heat fans have been waiting for – to see the full compliment of talent.
Justise Winslow’s productivity and potential fit will be spotlighted. As the swiss army knife player this Heat rotation needs, Winslow has the chance to put all trade rumors to bed if he comes back and flourishes.
An added benefit to a fully healthy roster, comes the opportunity for the front office to evaluate this roster as a whole. To identify the ceiling and what pieces are truly expendable.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to get some extended looks at the trio of Winslow, Adebayo and Butler.
If his twitter activity is any indication, #JustiseBetter now, Better Now.