5. Hassan Whiteside, Miami Heat
Part of the early intrigue of the NBA offseason was whether or not Hassan Whiteside would leave the Miami Heat and join the Dallas Mavericks. Whiteside, as it would turn out, re-upped with the Heat in a series of moves that saw Dwyane Wade depart to the Chicago Bulls.
The Heat re-signed Whiteside to a four-year deal, worth $98 million.
Whiteside has asserted himself over the past two seasons as one of the top big men in the NBA. He avergaed 14.2 points and 11.8 rebounds per game last season, and shot a career high 65 percent from the free throw line, after shooting just 50 percent in 2014-15.
The Heat will be a team to watch for a few reasons. First, 2016-17 will be the first season without Wade since 2002-03. But Whiteside is also a key component to watch. Will he keep up the same standard of play now that he received the big contract? The Heat are banking on it, as Whiteside’s transition from relative-unknown to franchise centerpiece is now complete.
Next: Number 4