When the Miami Heat first drafted former Duke Forward Justice Winslow with the 10th pick back in 2015, everyone was quick to call it the steal of the draft. Since he entered the league however he has found little success outside of his defensive ability. Some even went as far as to call him a bust. Recently Winslow has been putting his doubters to rest with some of the best play of his entire 4-year-career. He has started to look like the star player everyone envisioned he would become. The big questions that remain are what has caused this recent change and can he keep it up? Let’s break it all down below:
Justice Winslow’s Move to Point Guard Leads to Resurgence
What Caused His Resurgence?
One of the biggest reasons for Winslow’s latest improvement is the Heat’s decision to move him from forward to point guard. Winslow has been the one running the team which has created favorable cross-matchups for the Heat. Over the course of his career, he has never been one to thrive in the fast-paced scheme in which the Heat had previously run. Since starting at point guard, he has slowed down the game and the entire team including himself have improved. It will be interesting to see what the Heat decide to do with Winslow once Goran Dragic is healthy enough to return to the starting role. The important thing right now is that Winslow is doing well at his new position and the team is benefiting from it as a result.
During this recent stretch of games where Winslow has been flourishing, he has been very consistent. He’s consistently making shots, rebounding, and playing top-notch defense as well. The main criticism of Winslow since his entry into the league has been that he hasn’t had any consistency. He had shown flashes of what he could become but had failed to ever put it together for very long. This has been the major difference between his early career and now. Everyone knew he had the ability to become a great player, but many had given up on him due to his lack of production on the offensive end. If he continues to trend in the direction he is headed, he has the potential to become a true star
Can He Keep It Up?
Everything Winslow has done during this run has been great. However, this won’t mean anything if he is unable to keep it up. We’ve seen flashes of greatness from him before, but this one does seem different. I believe that as long as he is the starting point guard for this team he will continue his success. If Dragic comes back to the starting lineup that could be a whole different story. His return would automatically mean fewer minutes for Winslow. More importantly, though the style of play would likely move back to the usual fast-paced offense. Dragic’s return could also mean that Winslow would be moved back to forward and his scoring opportunities would decrease and Erik Spoelstra will have to find new creative ways to get Winslow more involved in the offense.
Winslow definitely has the ability to continue his recent success. In the end, I don’t think it will depend on him. It will depend on the circumstances that surround him. If he continues to be the starting point guard and is able to play at the pace that suits him best then he will continue to succeed. If circumstances change and impact him negatively then his success will most likely come to a stop. No matter what happens I’m certain every Heat fan will be rooting for him as the year goes on. He is certainly a very talented player that hopefully can live up to his potential.
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