Is Hassan Whiteside becoming the key to the Miami Heat’s season? ESPN’s Chris Broussard thinks there’s some truth to the statement that would have seemed ludicrous two months ago.

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“Let’s say Dwyane and Bosh are constant, then I think you can argue [yes] just because he gives you that element that you didn’t count on,” Broussard said on Tuesday’s Marc Hochman Show with Zach Krantz on WQAM. “Without him you know what you are. You’re a playoff team, second round at best.”

While the ESPN NBA reporter thinks Cleveland will still be the class of the Eastern Conference, he gives Miami a chance to make some postseason noise.

“Nobody’s a definite in the East and I don’t think Miami can win it,” Broussard said. “But they could make a long, interesting playoff run if their three — and you named it last week, the Big Three of Wade, Bosh, and Whiteside — played to their maximum level.

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“You can’t tell me they can’t be as good as a Toronto, maybe a Washington, and in the playoffs maybe an Atlanta because at least you have experience — you have proven winners.”

Broussard dropped a hypothetical bomb before getting off the phone.

“If [Whiteside] had done this last year, if you discovered him last year, you might have won the title. LeBron might still be there.”

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Listen to the full Broussard interview and others here, and follow WQAM on Twitter and Facebook.