Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra didn't speak with Hassan Whiteside after benching the center during the team's 97-80 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Monday night and instead let captains Goran Dragic, James Johnson and Udonis Haslem handle the situation.
Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald passed along comments from Johnson, who said the talented post player now "gets it."
"Minutes is earned, man. Minutes is earned on this team," he said. "We had our talk [with Whiteside] as we should as a team and as the three captains that we are. And he gets it, man. I know he gets it."
Whiteside connected on just one of his nine shots attempts while tallying three points, six rebounds and one block across 16 minutes before getting sent to the bench for good early in the second half.
"Sometimes you just don't have it. And he admitted, 'Hey guys, I let you down,'" Dragic told reporters. "Look, we're here to help him. He's on on our team. He's our player. We love him and this is the only thing that matters."
Haslem added: "We're not disappointed, man. It's not supposed to be easy. None of this is supposed to be easy, man. If you want to be a champion in this league, it's not going to be easy. So everybody's path is different. Hassan is still growing. He's still learning, he's still growing, he's still understanding what we expect from him."
The game was the first back-to-back situation of the season for the 28-year-old Marshall University product, who missed five games after suffering a knee injury in the season opener.
He's still averaging 15.2 points, 12.4 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 1.2 steals across five appearances during the current campaign despite Monday's lackluster showing. He ranked 26th in the NBA in Player Efficiency Rating (22.68), per ESPN.com.