The Heat were vastly outplayed by the Raptors and ended up losing the game 116-89. Miami started 6-foot-7 Justise Winslow at center for the second straight game and the team ended up paying for it – they were outrebounded on the glass, 50-to-30. Despite the disparity, head coach Erik Spoelstra did not put Stoudemire in for a single minute. Not even when the team was getting blown out.
Following the loss, the former six-time All-Star commented on his overall feelings of the 2015-16 season, via Ethan Skolnick of The Miami Herald:
“For me personally, I showed great health, showed resilience and consistency of playing,” Stoudemire said. “Would love to have played more but, for the most part, it was a successful year from a health standpoint. Great chemistry. I enjoyed the guys. I had the best time of my life with my teammates this season.”
The 33-year-old center saw a drastically reduced role to what he’s accustomed to during his first season with the Heat. He averaged 5.8 points and 4.3 rebounds in just 14.7 minutes per game. Stoudemire appeared in 52 regular season games while starting in 36 of them. He took on a starting role when Miami opted to bring Hassan Whiteside off of the bench after the All-Star break.
However, he saw a reduced role as the postseason came around. Whiteside re-entered the starting lineup and once he went down due to injury, Winslow and Udonis Haslem saw increased minutes at the center position.
The 14-year veteran stated that limited playing time was not part of the deal when he signed his contract last summer: “That was not part of the deal.”
Furthermore, Stoudemire also remained non-committal when asked if he wanted to return to Miami next season: “We’ll see.”
Considering the Heat’s issues with injuries to their big men during the postseason, the fact that Spoelstra opted not to rely on Stoudemire for any playing time is a troublesome sign.
The former Rookie of the Year may desire a bigger role with a team next season, but it’s hard to envision that’ll actually happen.
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