Miami Heat: Justise Winslow has to make 2018-19 his

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 21: Justise Winslow
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 21: Justise Winslow /

Miami Heat’s Justise Winslow has to own 2018-19.

Heat Nation loved what they saw from Justise Winslow last season, particularly during the Miami Heat’s playoff push and thereafter.

He embraced wearing multiple hats for the team, primarily counted upon for his high-level defense, but also transitioning into a second unit ball-handler; all while letting a bit of his more aggressive side shine through his usually disciplined demeanor.

(It’s safe to say that both point-Winslow and him stepping on Joel Embiid‘s face mask were top fan moments of the year and postseason, respectively.)

But the 22-year-old still has things to prove to not only the organization and it’s supporters, but himself as well.

Like that he can shoot the ball, for instance.

"“I take it upon myself, Winslow said, when asked if he feels pressured to improve his shot. “I understand the game and how important spacing is. I want to be a good shooter not only for myself, but for my teammates… I’m working at it constantly everyday, envisioning myself knocking down shots. “"

And there’s already been improvement made.

Winslow shot 42.4 percent from the field in 2018-19, as opposed to 35.6 percent the season prior. He also went from shooting 20.0 percent from downtown, to 38.0 percent.

However, the former Duke Blue Devil isn’t abandoning his already established skill-set in favor of being a high-volume shooter. He’s simply trying to become a more well-rounded player, to be a jack-of-all-trades for his team.

After all, it’s no secret that the Heat love their guys to be versatile.

"“I’m trying to get better in all aspects of my game and just go from there.”"

Which is exactly why Winslow embraced the idea of filling different roles, from the start.

"“I really enjoy it,” he said, regarding playing point guard. “I’m an unselfish guy so I’m always looking for ways to get my teammates involved. Just having the ball in my hands and trying to make plays for others is something that’s come naturally.”"

That’s definitely true.

One of Miami’s most successful rotations, nicknamed The Platinum Group, largely ran so smoothly because of the way the Houston-native distributed the ball. Having fully bought into Miami Heat Basketball since he was drafted in 2015, Winslow has learned the in’s and out’s of head coach Erik Spoelstra’s system.

Now all that’s left is continuing to build on the confidence that really started showing itself during the team’s recent first round playoff matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers. Although the No.10 pick obviously knew he was a diamond in the rough for the Heat when entering the league, he hasn’t had the easiest start to his professional career.

Something that without a doubt took some overcoming.

Winslow saw time in only 18 games in 2016-17, sidelined with a torn shoulder. Slowly but surely though, he’s been getting back to the player he was before his injury.

Just in time for president Pat Riley and company to consider signing him to a contract extension.

While Josh Richardson agreed to a four-year, $42 million deal last fall, Winslow has yet to officially extend his time in South Florida.

However, with Riley recently calling him “an anchor piece,” the swingman probably doesn’t have anything to worry about.

Next. Miami Heat: Who should be Hassan Whiteside's inspiration?. dark

Here’s to Winslow making the Miami Heat’s 2018-19 run his performance yet.