Athletic Insider Blog: Justice Winslow
February 24, 2019
The Miami Heat have had their fair share of struggles this season. The team sits at 26-30, currently ninth place in the Eastern Conference, and are fighting for one of the lower seeds in the playoffs. However, one of the bright spots for the Heat this season has been Justise Winslow’s breakout, as Winslow is currently having the best season of his career.
When All Star point guard Goran Dragic opted to have knee surgery in December, it was unclear who would step up for the Heat in Dragic’s absence. Despite being listed as a small forward throughout his career, Winslow would take over Dragic’s role in the starting line up and he has not looked back. Winslow averages 14.1 points per game, 5.9 rebounds per game and 4.8 assists per game since taking over for Dragic as the starting point guard. Fans have noticed Winslow’s resurgence following an underwhelming 2017-18 season where he only averaged 7.8 points per game and 2.2 assists per game.
“[Winslow] has been developing more… as he gets older,” Palmetto freshman Ben Ramos said. “He has improved his play drastically.”
The Heat are ecstatic to see Winslow finally showing the potential they hoped he would develop since the Heat drafted him as the 10th pick of the 2015 NBA draft. Winslow was selected over several notable players who have gone on to have stellar careers in only four years. Some of these players include Suns guard Devin Booker, who has dropped 70 points in a single game, Pacers center Myles Turner, who currently leads the league in blocks and even Heat guard Josh Richardson, who was selected by Miami with the 40th pick in the same draft. While fans were satisfied with how Richardson developed, some were concerned that Winslow may turn out to be a bust. It appears Winslow wants to prove those fans wrong.
“Winslow is a solid player who has gotten a lot better from his rookie year,” Palmetto sophomore Andrew Nussbaum said. “He is still a raw talent and the Heat can make him a great player.”
Winslow has formed a strong bond with several of his teammates, including Richardson and young center Bam Adebayo. He has also received praise from Miami Heat legends Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem, who both cited Winslow’s leadership qualities and toughness. Winslow is known as a staunch defender and a scrappy player on the court. Dragic returns from knee surgery this Thursday against the Philadelphia 76ers, but is willing to play off ball and let Winslow control the point guard position in order to help him continue his progression. Hopefully, this will help the Heat rack up more wins in the home stretch of the season.