2018-2019 Off the Glass Breakout Players Series: Justise Winslow
Justise Winslow is primed for a breakout season. Sure, we’ve been saying this for three summers in a row but this is the year...probably. Entering his fourth season, @iamjustise still embodies talent unfulfilled. Defensively, he is already a plus-plus lockdown menace. On the offensive end he struggles as a creator but has fashioned himself into a consistent three point shooter, increasing his 3pt shooting percentage from 27% as a rookie to 38% last season.
Way back in the summer of 2015 Danny Ainge offered 4 first round picks to the Charlotte Hornets move up to #9 in the draft for the right to select Justise Winslow out of Duke. Ainge has proven to be a master evaluator of talent and thought this highly of Winslow to throw out a godfather offer. Charlotte passed on him entirely and selected Frank Kaminsky instead, which hasn’t worked out so great.
The Heat of Miami hustled to the podium to select the Houston native. Winslow helped Coach K hoist the school’s 5th national title and looked like a surefire NBA star. With elite athleticism, tenacity on defense and an attacking offensive style that results in copious free throw attempts he was a lock for the lottery as a small forward.
In the modern NBA, Winslow is looking like a prototypical small-ball 4. The Heat used him as such in 60% of his minutes last year. He was regarded as a minus shooter coming out of college but in 2017-18, he shot 38% from three point range and 40% on corner threes. Corner threes made up 54% of his overall 3PT attempts. He has not been as aggressive going to the rim as a pro than in college; he is only getting to the line 1.5 times per game whereas he got to the line 4 times per game at Duke.
Defensively, he is still a factor and was good for 2.4 defensive-win/shares last season.
Defense against the Raptors
He is still below league average in PER on 24 minutes per game but impacts the game as a fierce rebounder. He could look great in a switch everything frontcourt rotating with Bam Adebayo as the 4 / 5 combination. Together, they probably wouldn’t get killed on the glass either while providing a bit of spacing.
On a crowded team of bigs, his overall minutes are limited and will likely hover around 25 per game. He has improved as a shooter each season and must be covered from deep. While he may not regain the offensive aggressive displayed in college, Winslow could be a perfect 3 and D small-ball power forward in Miami moving forward. This is also a contract year as his rookie deal is expiring so look for judicious shot making and maximum effort on the defensive end.