Is Justise Winslow more than a Miami Heat trade asset?

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 9: Justice Winslow
MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 9: Justice Winslow /

The emergence of Justise Winslow could mark the end of his Miami Heat tenure.

The term asset has been bandied around the NBA forever.

Veterans on the last legs of their contracts, budding stars on cheap deals and future draft picks have all been blessed with that distinction. So, it should come as no surprise that president Pat Riley spent most of the summer reminding the world that the Miami Heat have a roster full of pawns.

And if you ask ESPN’s Zach Lowe, Justise Winslow should be the top priority on the team’s trade list:

"“With Josh Richardson’s extension, Miami is already over next season’s tax. This is their easiest path out of cap prison: use Winslow as a sweetener to get off a bigger salary, and nab something useful in return.”"

A bold statement, such as that, can be seen in one of two ways: the Heat are giving up on a former lottery pick, or they are hopefully packaging him to acquire more talent (à la the Shaquille O’Neal and Alonzo Mourning trades).

Either way, it means Winslow’s stock jumps high enough to bring his status to a point of desire.

A process that head coach Erik Spoelstra started, by using him almost exclusively as a 6-foot-7 point forward, during the preseason.

Not only did that move put a temporary end to Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson’s struggles at backup point guard, but it also allowed Winslow to work the rust off against players who will likely spend most of their 2017-18 season in the Gatorade League.

In six preseason games, Winslow averaged 6.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists. However, during the last two, he averaged 8.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game. It was a showcase of skills that made his game look much more attractive–in a poor man’s Draymond Green, type of way.

In other words, a triple-double threat, who can do a little bit of everything.

But is that enough to overlook shooting woes that so far only rose 0.8 percent, from when he played with a torn cartilage in his right shoulder?

For now, it is too soon to tell.

However, if down the line, no other teams bite at Riley’s bait… Spoelstra may actually have a serviceable, second-string point guard on his hands.

Next: Do the 2017-18 Miami Heat have a top ranked backcourt?

Will Winslow’s development lead to securing a future with the Heat, or simply raise his trade value? Only time will tell.