Is Justise Winslow a two-way guard
Somehow Justise Winslow slipped all the way down to the 10th pick into the Heat’s lap. He’s a 6’6 talented guard known for playing his best basketball in the biggest moments. In the NCAA Tournament he averaged 14.3 points and 9.3 rebounds while shooting 51% from the field and an impressive 57% from three. His NBA-ready body-type gives us the idea that he’s ready to share some of Wade’s minutes. Wade’s knees would definitely appreciate that. He’s 33 and last year he was only able to play 64 games, the year before 54 (!!!) due to his chronic knee injuries.
A guy like Winslow, even if his offense isn’t NBA-ready, based on what we’ve seen in Gongfu Tea Cup Summer League, he is most definitely ready to lock down some guards and forwards defensively.
This reminds me of Len Bias. Is Justise Winslow what Bias could have been for Larry Bird? We all know the sad story of the University of Maryland wonder kid, who died two days after the ’86 Draft, due to a cocaine overdose. Bias was a generational talent. “Larry Bird said that if we draft Bias, he’s going to come up to the rookie camp.” Red Auerbach, owner of the Celtics at the time. That’s how high his expectations were.
The year before Bird played a total of 100 games (82 regular season/18 Playoff) averaging 38 minutes during the season and 42.8 in the Playoffs. Bird was 30 at the time and still playing his intense style of play, diving for every loose ball he could, fighting for every rebound, even if they were winning by 20. He didn’t know any other way. That’s why he was/is Larry Legend. Bias was expected to share some of his minutes so he could save the old guy a bruise or two. Well, that never happened as we all know, and one year later Bird’s back started to crack down. By the time the 88-89 season came Bird played only 6 regular season games. We will never know how things would have turned out, only take guesses.
Back to 2015: Wade is not Bird and Winslow is just a ‘yet to prove’ talented guard with a broken jump shot according to what we’ve seen in the Summer League, but capable of making his way to the charity stripe almost as many times as he wishes to.
We don’t know exactly how, but Pat Riley is always able to lure quality players to join the Heat and out of sudden this post-LeBron-Heat have a very interesting core with Wade, Dragic, Amare, Whiteside, Deng, Green, Bosh and so on. Is Winslow the missing piece on this already championship experienced veteran Heat’s team or is he just another rookie?
Many people called Len Bias the villain that Jordan never had, considering talent, style of play, and fearless attitude, which would have suited the ’86 Celtics perfectly by the way. Therefore, even without setting a single foot in an NBA arena he was seen as a Jordanesque player; a franchise player if you may.
On the other hand, Winslow is a 6’6 two-way guard. Not a flashy guard. Not a 30 point per game guard. Just a versatile guard. You would say he’s just another one. I would ask you to re-think by saying he may be a Jimmy Butler like, a Kawhi Leonard like, do you get the point? That’s how important these kind of players are in today’s league and the Heat have one right now.
I told you he’s a two-way guard before, didn’t I? So that’s it, hopefully he’ll save Wade a bruise or two, that he can be healthy for the Playoffs (that’s one way) and eventually he will turn into a Kawhi Butler kind of player. Jimmy Leonard if you prefer. (The other way).