Miami Heat Makes and Misses: Justise Winslow’s expanded role and more

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 06: Kevin Durant
OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 06: Kevin Durant /
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MIAMI, FL – OCTOBER 9: Justice Winslow
MIAMI, FL – OCTOBER 9: Justice Winslow /

Make: Justise Winslow’s Expanded Role

Winslow is still finding his role on this team after an injury-filled sophomore season, and this week we saw what he can do when given the keys to the offense.

Winslow will always be the centerpiece of some of the Heat’s best defensive lineups (along with Richardson and James Johnson) but its his offense that had yet to find its footing. But after two uneven games in Los Angeles and Golden State, Winslow finally showed flashes of his potential in a consistent fashion against Phoenix.

Granted, the struggling Suns have managed to make even Lonzo Ball look competent this year, but the game was important for Winslow because he was put in positions to succeed and did just that. A lot of talk has been made about his infrequency in the pick-and-roll game, often being stashed in the corner as a late cutter or corner shooter; however, this time it was different.

Winslow had the ball in his hands at the top of the key and was allowed to make a play in space, something Heat fans have been waiting for through the first ten games. Here’s a good example of his incredible control and patience in the pick-and-roll.

After running off a double screen from James Johnson and Hassan Whiteside, Winslow gets Devin Booker on his hip with a couple of hard dribbles which also freezes Alex Len and allows Whiteside to spring free for the lob. This is certainly not a play made by someone with barely two years of NBA basketball under his belt.

Getting Winslow into the flow of the offense is so important for the rest of his game. Against Phoenix, he also went 2-of-4 from 3 on his way to a 14-point, 6-rebound and 5-assist night. His outside shooting has been one of the biggest questions on his game, but allowing him some freedom offensively leads to in-rhythm, open looks.

It also allows Winslow to flash some of that “young Kawhi Leonard” potential. Here, again, Winslow disposes of Booker quickly and puts a deadly Euro step on Marquese Chriss to get to the rim easily.

Going forward, look for much more involvement from Winslow with the ball in his hands as the main initiator. It’ll put him on the fast track to fully realizing the potential of his place in this league.