Justise Winslow

Justise Not Served? Heat Linked to Point Guards

The Heat don’t have a starting forward on their roster.

Not one.

Yes, Kelly Olynyk can play power forward, but he’s really best at center, where the Heat have Hassan Whiteside (who is likely not opting out) and Bam Adebayo (who needs to start).

Yes, Derrick Jones, Jr., played both forward spots last season, and he’s improving rapidly, but he’s not quite at the level where he would start for most teams either.

Yes, James Johnson is paid a lot. But, well, you know.

They do appear to have two starting quality point guards, however, and yet, oddly, they keep getting linked to any and every point who may be available. That’s with Goran Dragic likely to opt in for the final season of his contract — and with Justise Winslow showing last season that it is by far his best position.

So what’s happening here?

Both Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra made a point, during their end-of-season press conferences, to spotlight Winslow’s versatility. That was a telling, and somewhat troubling, sign. What is it going to take for them to see that Winslow is not suited to be a smallball power forward or a stand-in-the-corner wing as much as he is equipped to be someone with the ball in his hands, making plays for himself and others? That he feeds off that responsibility, gains confidence, and plays better?

My belief was the Heat should have taken that approach with their postseason talks. Tell Winslow and the world that he can be the guy there if he enhances certain aspects of his game. He’s a hard worker, and has already made great strides as a finisher and as a range shooter. Now get him running thousands of pick-and-rolls all summer long.

Maybe the Heat are.

And maybe they plan to deal Dragic, to clear more time for Winslow at the spot.

But why then are we hearing all of this, and is it just coming from the other side?

And this:

OK, that one was Brian Scalabrine, and apparently it was prior to Winslow’s point guard emergence.

That was our own Greg Sylvander (@Lefty_Leif) who reported that one.

And, finally, there’s this rumor, which has the most credibility, because the Heat have loved this player for a long, long time:

OK, now, the Conley thing makes some sense.

I’ve always been a fan as well.

One thing that isn’t well known is how much respect Dwyane Wade and Conley have for each other, and clearly Wade still holds some sway around these parts.

Here was Conley when I asked him at NBA All-Star Weekend about swapping jerseys earlier in the season:

He’s Heat Culture, through and through. Selfless. Determined. Consistent.

But again, would his arrival mean the departure of Dragic, the departure of Winslow or the shifting of Winslow to a position where he is not as naturally comfortable?




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