Hassan Whiteside out due to illness today vs. Grizzlies due to illness.
— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) January 12, 2019
— Anthony Chiang (@Anthony_Chiang) January 12, 2019
Whiteside did play on Thursday when the Heat took on the Boston Celtics, so his illness had to have come on sometime after that. Whiteside is Miami’s most consistent rebounder, averaging 12.5 boards per game.
Furthermore, the big man is averaging 2.5 blocks per game. He’s an imposing force at the rim on both ends of the floor.
Luckily for Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra, he has two capable centers to make up for Whiteside’s absence. Bam Adebayo will start in place of Whiteside. Adebayo is an up-and-coming big man with athleticism and a high ceiling.
Kelly Olynyk will anchor the second unit. The Gonzaga University product is a versatile big man who can knock down enough catch-and-shoot three-points shots to keep defenses honest.
It won’t be easy for Adebayo and Olynyk to make up for Whiteside’s production, but they can certainly hold their own. The two will face the tall task of corralling All-Star center Marc Gasol. Despite his age, Gasol is still one of the better centers in the league, so the Heat should have their hands full.