Hassan Whiteside has joined the ranks of DeAndre Jordan and Andre Drummond on the dubious list of players teams will intentionally put at the foul line. While Whiteside isn’t a sub-45 percent free throw shooter like Jordan, he only shoots 53 percent from the stripe, making him easily the best intentional foul target on the Miami Heat. Yet, despite his shortcomings at the line, Whiteside isn’t shying away from the challenge. As he tells Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post, he wants teems to keep fouling him.
“I’m enjoying this,” he said. “Foul me so I can get a double-double and we can win. It’s not working, so keep fouling me.”
Overall, Whiteside’s right. At 9-4, the Heat aren’t quite suffering as a result of Whiteside’s weakness. It’s still a sound strategy, though. As long as he continues to struggle at the line, teams will continue to put him there. They could foul Luol Deng or Justise Winslow, both of whom are only shooting 61 percent from the free throw line, but there’s little reason to do that whenever Whiteside is on the court. He deserves credit for embracing the challenge, even egging teams on, but let’s not get carried away.
Whiteside is absolutely right: Teams should keep fouling him, not because it will lead to a Heat victory, but because the expected value of a trip to the free throw line is low enough that opposing teams will live with the results every time.