Miami Heat: Why Justise Winslow should be the starting point guard

Goran Dragic #7 of the Miami Heat celebrates a play with Justise Winslow #20 (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
Goran Dragic #7 of the Miami Heat celebrates a play with Justise Winslow #20 (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Miami Heat’s Pat Riley was recently quoted in saying that he sees Goran Dragic as the starting point man. Here’s why he shouldn’t be so fast to say that.

The Miami Heat are dead in the middle of an offseason that most would call mundane at best. While the newest draftees in Tyler Herro and KZ Okpala are players to get excited about, the Miami Heat don’t appear as though they will be major players in this free agency period that is set to start any day now. Since they don’t have any strong ties to any of the pending free agents, other than Jimmy Butler who still probably wouldn’t find the money he’s seeking in South Beach, those associated with the Miami Heat must focus on what’s already in the locker room.

In a piece by Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, “Riley addresses” quite a few things from potential additions to the roster, to Hassan Whiteside, and eventually Goran Dragic among other things, as indicated by the title of the piece. In this piece, Riley put forth the notion that he thinks Goran Dragic will be the starting point guard next season, although he knows who we are looking to see. Here is the direct quote from the piece.

"On Dragic’s future after he opted in for $19 million: “Right now, I believe Goran is our starting point guard. I know you [reporters] have Justise Winslow slotted in there."

He isn’t only a darn great basketball coach and executive, he must be a part-time prophet because that is just what we are looking to see. All kidding aside, it was easy to predict that the Miami Heat faithful would be calling for just that, but here are a few reasons why.

When looking at Justise Winslow’s performance last season, it was arguably his best season as a pro. He shot a career-high field goal percentage of 43.3 percent, while also turning in a career-high scoring average of 12.9 points per game. On top of the overall percentage, he doubled the amount of three-point attempts he had from the previous season, which went from a career-high 1.9 attempts per game to 3.9 attempts, while virtually maintaining the same efficiency.

On those 1.9 attempts from the 2017-18 season, he shot an even 38 percent, while shooting 37.5 percent this season on again twice the attempts. He also increased his effective field goal percentage to a career-high 49.7 percent from the 47.4 percent he shot in 17-18, which was a career high at the time. He also set a career high in the number of assists he averaged at 4.3 per game, while not dropping off in the rebounding category, as he maintained the 5.4 rebounds per game average that he posted during the 17-18 season.

On top of Justise simply being better than he has been throughout his short career(#JUSTISEBETTER), increasing most statistical outputs while maintaining the rest, Justise Winslow seems to be the most comfortable as the lead ball handler. This is important for multiple reasons. The first of those reasons is that it often seemed like a struggle for the organization to put him in the position that was best for him to succeed and by necessity, they may have somehow fallen into finding it as he was needed in that area this season.

It shouldn’t be that much of a surprise though because it shouldn’t be forgotten that this is very similar to the position or manner in which he operated during his time at Duke, which is what got him drafted highly and to the Miami Heat in the first place. All of the prior is very important because Justise is the future no matter which way you slice it, and although Dragic still appears to have quite a few years left in the tank, he won’t be around quite as long as Justise should be.

As we have finally broached the topic of Goran Dragic, there is something about him that goes into this equation as well. As we all should be sadly accepting by now, D-Wade(*starts chanting “one more dance, one more dance) is really gone. With that in mind, the Miami Heat could use a trusted veteran that can come in and get you buckets in a hurry.

Although Dragic’s pride as a ballplayer may come into play here, this is what may be best for the team and could even help to extend his career a bit, if he were interested in doing so. On top of all that, when he did so last year, he was very effective in that role.

Not only would it allow him to pick and choose his desired spots as the ultimate number one option for the second unit, but he would also often be matched up against mostly second unit guys or at least a partial second unit based lineup for the opposition, which could allow him to dominate them on the offensive end.

While there may be a few more reasons that this would be the best route, these are the main reasons. Miami Heat nation wouldn’t have an issue if what Riley says is true, as we will support either of them because they are both adored and appreciated figures in this organization, but having Justise as the starting guy and Dragic as the microwave off the bench might be the best way to go about it for this team to succeed at the levels we all want to see them succeed at.