The Miami Heat have gone through ups and downs in the 2018-19 NBA season and as of now, they are playing without one of their best players, All-Star point guard Goran Dragic. Dragic is undeniably a huge loss for the Heat, especially now that they are aiming to fully dominate the LeBron James-less Eastern Conference. However, Dragic’s absence turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the Heat discovered a hidden treasure on their roster.
When Goran Dragic suffered an injury in December, Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra decided to make an experiment and use Justise Winslow as their temporary starting point guard. Winslow didn’t waste the trust given to him by Spoelstra and immediately showed his incredible ball-handling and playmaking skills. In recent weeks, Winslow revealed that he has been receiving lots of compliments from several opposing players, including Toronto Raptors superstar Kawhi Leonard.
In the 12 games he served as the Heat’s starting point guard, Justise Winslow is averaging 15.9 points, 5.7 assists, and 5.6 rebounds on 49.0 percent shooting from the field and 40.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc. When Coach Erik Spoelstra informed him about his new role with the team, Winslow admitted that he made preparations by studying multiple NBA ball-handlers on tape.
Justise Winslow said that he didn’t only watch films of elite point guards in the league but also point forwards like LeBron James, Ben Simmons, Kawhi Leonard, and Jimmy Butler.
“Just different guys that handle the ball a lot, not necessarily all point guards,” Winslow said, via Barry Jackson of Miami Herald.
“LeBron James, Ben Simmons, being a bigger ball-handler, James Harden, even Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler at times. I use that to understand different things at the point guard position, like their passing angle. Those guys are bigger players so they pass differently than a Chris Paul or a Kemba Walker. It’s understanding what I can take from each one of those guys to help better my game. I definitely have been watching more film.”
Justise Winslow shouldered the scoring burden Saturday, so Josh Richardson slid into a playmaking role. A look at how he got his career-high nine assists: https://t.co/mkcSnpWX5G pic.twitter.com/VZQVukk3av— David Wilson (@DBWilson2) January 13, 2019
With Justise Winslow’s current performance, Coach Erik Spoelstra will definitely have a hard time making a decision when Goran Dragic fully recovers from an injury. However, there is a strong possibility that Winslow could remain in the starting lineup even if Dragic returns. Despite playing his entire NBA career as a point guard, Dragic has shown his capability to excel off the ball.
Justise Winslow doesn’t have any problem sharing the backcourt with Goran Dragic as they have played together before. Winslow strongly believes that he can effectively make an adjustment with his game when Dragic is ready to play again.