How Much Longer Can Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside Keep Heat Afloat?

December 8th, 2016 by Zach Buckley Leave a reply »

MIAMI — The new-look Miami Heat demanded a strong on-court connection between Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic.

Not only does the pair comprise Miami's highest-paid healthy players, those two are the only ones who qualify as proven upper-echelon NBA commodities.

But the need for chemistry and the creation of it are two different things. The next few months could determine whether it's a longstanding base or a temporary bridge to whatever comes next. It's at least a solid footing for the 2016-17 group to build upon.

"Me and him have a great connection," Dragic said. "We work a lot. I feel comfortable playing with him."

That comfort has surfaced more frequently of late, a surge best captured by a discrete sequence midway through Miami's 114-103 loss to the New York Knicks on Dec. 6. Following a Whiteside steal, the 7-footer navigated a four-on-one fast break before no-look finding Dragic at the rim.

It was only Whiteside's 16th assist in 22 games, pushing his career assist percentage to a meager 2.2—fifth-lowest in NBA history (min. 4,000 minutes). Bu ...

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