Tag Archive for: Justise Winslow

Worst Heat Draft Picks

5 Worst Heat Draft Picks of All-Time

Entering their 34th season of existence, the Miami Heat find themselves without a selection in the 2021 NBA Draft. In five previous drafts (’96, ’06, ’13, ’16 and ’18), the Heat did not make a selection of any kind. But in the years they have made selections, their hit-rate has been spotty. Miami has found itself in the draft lottery 14 times, and some of those selections represent the worst Heat draft picks of all-time.

While it remains to be seen how the 2021 NBA Draft will play out, here’s a look at the five worst Heat draft picks of all-time.


First, a Quick Look at a few Regrettable Trades

Without a pick entering the evening’s festivities, there is precedent for Miami trading into the first round. In 1996, Pat Riley reshaped the Heat roster following a playoff sweep at the hands of the eventual champion Chicago Bulls. Sound familiar?

That year, Riley sent a future first round selection to Utah for the draft rights to Martin Müürsepp. The 6-9 Estonian proved to be something of a reach and developed very little in a Heat uniform. All told, Müürsepp played 10 games for Miami before being packaged with Sasha Danilović and Kurt Thomas to the Mavericks for Jamal Mashburn.

Picking Müürsepp at 25 helped yield an impactful player for Miami, yes. But there were other, better players on the board during the 1996 NBA Draft. Namely, Jerome Williams (26), Malik Rose (44) and Shandon Anderson (54), among others.

What compounds this regrettable move is the inclusion of the 2000 1st rounder, a selection that eventually became DeShawn Stevenson.

The other bad trade came in 1992. The Heat sent their ’93 first and rookie Isaiah Morris (a ’92 second round pick) to Detroit for veteran center John Salley. Although Salley proved useful for three seasons, Miami left him unprotected in the 1995 expansion draft and Toronto plucked him.

That ’93 first Miami surrendered? It became Lindsey Hunter at No. 10. Some of the other players on the board at that time were Allan Houston (yes, that Allan Houston) and Sam Cassell.

Related: 5 Best Heat Draft Picks of All-Time

Worst Heat Draft Picks: Willie Burton (No. 9, 1990)

Worst Heat Draft Picks

Lady Luck didn’t smile on Miami in 1990. In the first year of the weighted lottery system, the Heat held the second-best odds for the No. 1 overall selection. That season, Derrick Coleman was expected to go first. Future Hall-of-Famer Gary Payton stood as the likely No. 2 pick. But instead of landing the Glove 15 years before he’d make it to Miami, the Heat slipped to No. 3.

Prior to the draft, Lewis Schaffel, first GM in Heat history, dealt that selection to Denver for the ninth and fifteenth picks that year. Schaffel said at the time the difference between third and the ninth was “not huge. There might not be any.”

There was.

Third overall turned out to be Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (nee Chris Jackson). The Heat chose Willie Burton from Minnesota at nine. Over eight NBA seasons, Burton posted a minus-0.9 VORP (Value-Over-Replacement-Player), 39th in the class, and 9.1 Win Shares, 23rd in the class.

Burton played well as a rookie, averaging 12 PPG and earning a spot the NBA’s All-Rookie second team. But his production cratered from there. After four seasons, Miami waived him. Burton got revenge in 1994 when, as a 76er, he scored a career-high 53 points against the Heat.

Going into ’90-’91, the Heat had need at power forward and shooting guard. By swapping No. 3 and No. 9, the team missed out on Dennis Scott (4) and Kendall Gill (5). Miami could’ve used Tyrone Hill (11), too.

Miami used No. 15 overall to take guard Dave Jamerson, who they traded to Houston with their No. 30 pick Carl Herrera for power forward Alec Kessler. Other players Miami missed out on in 1990 included Elden Campbell (27), Toni Kukoč (29), Antonio Davis (45) and Cedric Ceballos (48).


Worst Heat Draft Picks: Khalid Reeves (No. 12, 1994)

Worst Heat Draft Picks

Heading into the 1994 NBA Draft, the Heat were coming of the first winning season in franchise history. As the 8-seed in the playoffs, Miami nearly upset the top-seeded Hawks, losing in the deciding Game 5 of the series. A year after not having a first-round pick, Miami held the No. 12 selection overall, the first outside the lottery.

Miami lost Brian Shaw to free agency and waived Burton, so the team needed guard depth. The promising young core of Glen Rice, Steve Smith and Rony Seikaly seemed ready to vault up the Eastern Conference and drafting Jalen Rose could have provided just the playmaker Miami needed.

But that’s not what Schaffel did. Instead of taking Rose, Miami selected Khalid Reeves at No. 12. A 6-3 scorer from Arizona, Reeves was miscast as a point guard in Miami. He provided very little production as a rookie and stood by as Schaffel and Billy Cunningham retooled the roster. Miami missed the playoffs and Micky Arison assumed controlling interest in the franchise. Arison brought in Pat Riley who included Reeves in his franchise-altering trade for Alonzo Mourning.

Reeves played six seasons in the NBA, but just one for Miami, making him arguably one of the worst Heat draft picks of all-time. He posted a 1.0 VORP (19th in class) and 8.4 Win Shares (22nd in the class).

On the board at the time of his selection: Rose (13), Aaron McKie (17), Wesley Person (23) and Charlie Ward (26).

Heat legend Voshon Lenard was drafted No. 46 overall by Milwaukee. Miami passed him over in the second round, opting instead for Oklahoma forward Jeff Webster. Riley would sign Lenard as a free agent on December 29, 1995.


Worst Heat Draft Picks: Michael Beasley (No. 2, 2008)

Worst Heat Draft PicksTo include Michael Beasley’s name on this list is to court the ire of #HeatTwitter. Beasley remains oddly beloved in Miami, despite limited production and questionable behavior.

The ‘07-‘08 Heat season couldn’t have gone any worse. Their 15-67 mark tied the expansion club for the worst record in franchise history. It was Riley’s last season as head coach and Zo’s last as a player. Dwyane Wademissed time with injuries and Shaquille O’Neal was shipped off. The second half of the season saw Miami trot out lineups that included Blake Ahearn, Stéphane Lasme, Smush Parker and Kasib Powell. The only hope was the 2008 NBA Draft.

Miami held the best odds for No. 1, which would’ve landed Derrick Rose. But at the lottery, Chicago jumped eight places to steal the first pick, pushing the Heat to No. 2. Prior to the draft, it was said that Miami preferred O.J. Mayo. The Heat were trying to trade down and get some cap relief, but when there were no takers, Miami selected Beasley.

Taking Mayo would’ve also been one of the worst Heat draft picks of all-time, considering the names following. Russell Westbrook (4), Kevin Love (5) and Brook Lopez (10) have all been far superior NBA players than both Beas and Mayo.

Beasley’s posted a 0.9 VORP (25th in the class) and 15.6 Win Shares (28th in the class) during his career. Miami moved Beasley to the Timberwolves in 2010 to clear cap space, ultimately allowing them to assemble the Big-3: Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. Beasley’s winding career has made two stops in Miami since.

And who knows? Maybe fourth time’s a charm.


Worst Heat Draft Picks: Justise Winslow (No. 10, 2015)

Worst Heat Draft PicksAlthough #JustiseBetter was a thing for a considerable amount of time, there’s no escaping the fact that Justise Winslow remains a disappointment to Heat faithful. At the time of his selection, however, people lauded Miami’s choice.

The do-it-all forward entered the 2015 NBA Draft coming off a National Championship and even drew comparisons to (gasp) Grant Hill. But in the end, inconsistency and injuries ultimately landed Winslow among the worst Heat draft picks of all-time.

Two things color the Winslow selection beyond his underwhelming play and limited availability.

First, reports floated around immediately after the draft and in the intervening years that Boston Celtics’ GM Danny Ainge coveted Winslow so much that he offered a package of six draft picks to trade up. This offer was reportedly made to Detroit, which held the No. 8 pick, Charlotte (No. 9) and Miami (No. 10). All three teams rebuffed Boston, opting instead to draft Stanley Johnson, Frank Kaminsky and Winslow in succession. In retrospect, Miami might have done well with six additional picks, including four firsts.

Second, Miami missed out on a potentially franchise-altering player in Devin Booker, who went No. 13 to Phoenix. Some of the others on the board between Winslow and Miami’s second round pick (No. 40, Josh Richardson) included Myles Turner (11), Kelly Oubre Jr (15), Terry Rozier (16), Delon Wright (20), Bobby Portis (22) and Montrezl Harrell (32).

Miami traded Winslow on February 6, 2020 in a three-team deal that saw the Heat land  Jae CrowderSolomon Hill and Andre Iguodala. Those three helped propel Miami to the 2020 NBA Finals.

Winslow, meanwhile, has posted a minus-0.2 VORP (32nd in the class) and 7.0 Win Shares (25th in the class) over six spotty seasons.


Worst Heat Draft Picks: Harold Miner (No. 12, 1992)

Worst Heat Draft PicksThe 1992 NBA Draft stands as a turning point in league history. Orlando won the lottery and the right to select Shaq, while Charlotte moved up six spots to land Zo. Minnesota slipped to No. 3 overall, settling for Christian Laettner.

The Heat held No. 12 after making the franchise’s first playoff appearance. The Bulls swept Miami out of the first round that year, so it’s fitting that the Heat wound up with “Baby Jordan.”

Harold Miner earned Sports Illustrated’s player of the year over Laettner, Mourning and O’Neal in 1992, averaging 26.3 points- and seven rebounds-per-game for USC. Most mocks had Miner as a top-10 pick, some going as high as No. 3. So it was a surprise for him to be there when Miami picked at 12.

At the time, Miami needed another rebounder and frontcourt enforcer to compliment the young core of Rice, Seikaly and Smith. The quintessential Heat enforcer was on the board, too. P.J. Brown went 29th to New Jersey. Instead, Miami opted for Miner, who never really fit.

Miner played three unremarkable seasons with the Heat (save for his two Slam Dunk Contest victories). He posted a minus-0.9 VORP (42nd in the class) and 4.2 Win Shares (29th in the class). Miami traded him to Cleveland in 1995 as part of a second-round pick swap.

Among the other players on the board at No. 12 besides Brown: Anthony Peeler (15), Doug Christie (17), Hubert Davis (20) and four-time All-Star Latrell Sprewell (24).

What makes Miner arguably the worst of the Heat draft picks of all-time is that Sprewell probably changes the trajectory of the franchise at that point. He was immediately an elite defender and quickly became a go-to scorer. He might’ve been the missing piece for the franchise’s initial young core.


Heat’s Strange Connection to the 1992 Draft

Ironically, the Heat rostered eight of the first 10 players selected in the 1992 draft: O’Neal, Mourning, Laettner, Jim Jackson, LaPhonso Ellis, Walt Williams, Todd Day and Clarence Weatherspoon.

Beyond those eight, there was also Miner, Brown, Don MacLean (19), Matt Geiger (42), Sasha Danilović (43) and Matt Fish (50). Miami drafted Isaiah Morris in the second round (37) but traded him to Detroit as part of the package to acquire Salley in ‘92. That makes 15 of 48 players (31 percent) who actually played in the NBA from this draft were one-time members of the Miami Heat.

Also of note, the Heat’s selection of Geiger with the No. 42 overall selection came thanks to a trade made with the Los Angeles Lakers. In a pre-expansion draft deal on June 23, 1988, LA sent a future 1992 2nd round pick to Miami ensuring the Heat would not select Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the expansion draft.

Related: NBA Lottery Mock Draft: Cunningham and company

Justise Winslow

5 Reasons the Justise Winslow Trade Works

In February, the Miami Heat made a major move in trading Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters and James Johnson as part of a three-team deal. Miami managed to flip three players who were not contributing for players who provided production immediately. But was it the right move to make?

In the wake of the trade, a Heat Nation civil war ensued between the “Bustise Winslow” and “Justise Better” camps. And while it’s difficult to see a 24-year-old former lottery pick leave for past-their-prime veterans, Winslow’s lack of production hampered the team’s ability to move forward. He may find new life in Memphis, but it seemed like he’d never breakthrough with the Heat.

So here are five reasons why trading Justise Winslow works for the Miami Heat.

1 – Justise Winslow’s Availability

As a rookie, Justise Winslow played 78 games for the Heat. That remains the high-water mark for Winslow during his five-year career. By a wide margin. He missed well over 100 games while with Miami, including the bulk of two of his five seasons.

This year, real questions clouded Winslow’s desire to play. Although plagued by back issues, it’s been said that Winslow and the Heat could not agree on treatment or a timetable for return. This friction with the organization greased the wheels of a potential deal despite Winslow’s youth and potential.

The uncertainty of Winslow’s availability was replaced by a pair of players who’ve produced. Jae Crowder saw the floor in 13 of Miami’s 15 games after his February 6th acquisition. He’s posted 11.9 points-per-game and netted over 39 percent of his three-point attempts. Winslow’s career-high PPG is 12.3 and he’s never made threes at that high of a clip.

Andre Iguodala headlined the deal for Miami. Iggy played 14 of the 15 games after the trade, sitting out just the first one (like Crowder). He’s provided defensive flexibility and his 37 percent clip from three has kept opposing teams accountable.

Miami managed to unload three players in Winslow, Waiters and Johnson that were not producing at any meaningful level during the playoff push. They swapped them out for three players (Crowder, Iguodala and Solomon Hill) who could.

2 – Cap Flexibility

While the COVID-19 crisis has cast uncertainty on the league’s finances, Miami making this move in February seemed financially motivated. By flipping Winslow, Waiters and Johnson, the Heat freed up cap space for not only the coming offseason, but also the following one, when Giannis Antetokounmpo and Victor Oladipo could be available.

Winslow was set to make $26 million over the next two seasons, though the team held the contract’s option for 2021-22. Johnson had $16 million coming his way, and Waiters waited on another $12 million for 2020-21.

Moving off of those contracts saved Miami nearly $55 million in total and more than $40 million for this offseason. The Heat have a number of internal free agent options, including Goran Dragic, Meyers Leonard, Derrick Jones Jr. and Crowder. This deal could give Miami the means to bring all four contributors back. They could also look to add other players like Davis Bertans, Danilo Gallinari, or maybe even Serge Ibaka or Paul Millsap.

Yes, the team inked a $30 million extension with Iguodala as part of the trade. But the $15 million owed to Iggy for 2021-22 is a team option. In addition, the Warriors hold a $17.2 million trade exception that could see Miami create even more cap space if he’s traded back to Golden State.

3 – 3 & D Upgrade over Justise Winslow

While Justise Winslow may have wanted to be a point guard, the most obvious role for him to fill with this Heat team was as a 3-and-D wing. Winslow’s strength is on defense. He flashed that ability as a rookie, switching to defend multiple positions during Miami’s playoff run that year.

Offensively, Winslow’s most glaring weakness seemed to be his distance shooting. (Although finishing around the rim was also an issue.) While he’s improved from three, Winslow wasn’t a threat to opposing defenses standing beyond the arc.

This season, both Crowder (.318) and Iguodala (.375) have netted three-point attempts at a higher clip than Winslow (.222). With the Heat, Crowder has hit 39 percent from three.

Crowder sports a higher Defensive Win Shares figure (2.0), with Iguodala and Winslow tied at 0.4. In Defensive Box Plus/Minus, Iguodala leads (1.9), followed by Crowder (0.3) then Winslow (minus-0.1).

Crowder and Iguodala both provide Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra with switchable wing defenders who can play both on the perimeter and on the inside.

4 – Veteran Leadership

Iguodala is a 16-year veteran, Finals MVP and three-time champ. He’s an intelligent and articulate player who upgrades Miami’s basketball IQ. He’s played nearly 150 playoff games and has made four Finals appearances. This experience is something Winslow couldn’t provide.

Crowder’s resume isn’t nearly as decorated, but he is playoff-tested. A seven-year veteran, Crowder has played in more than 50 playoff games and made 30 starts. He helped defend LeBron James for Boston in the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals. He averages over 10 points-per-game and 32 percent on threes in the playoffs.

In just his fifth NBA season, Winslow has played 18 playoff games. The bulk of those (13) came in his rookie season. And his unwillingness to return to play for the Heat this season casts a disparaging mark on his resume as a leader.

5 – Offensive Clarity

The allure of a Jimmy Butler-Justise Winslow defensive pairing enticed everyone. Their brief snippets of play, with Bam Adebayo behind them, left Heat fans wanting more. But, as great as those defensive sequences were, on the other end of the floor, things were clunky.

Winslow held a well-known desire to be a point guard. He wanted the ball in his hands and flashed some ability as an offensive facilitator at times in his career. In the open court, he moved well and attacked, though finishing was an issue. But in the half court, the offense could stall with him at the helm, especially if Winslow wasn’t making his jumpers.

Butler will be the primary ball handler for Miami in this NBA restart. Kendrick Nunn should stand as the secondary option, with Dragic taking that role off the bench. Much of the half-court offense will be fed through Adebayo on the elbow, leaving Crowder and Duncan Robinson to man corners and wings.

Dealing Justise Winslow afforded Miami with a simplified offensive setup. Each rotation player now has a set role, both on the defensive end and offensively. The ball will be with Butler, Adebayo, Dragic and Nunn for the majority of the game. Winslow would’ve muddied those waters on offense and flipping him for Crowder and Iguodala keeps things clear.






Miami Heat: Justise Winslow suffers another injury setback

The Miami Heat will be without Justise Winslow for two weeks.

Another day, another status update on Justise Winslow. According to a tweet from Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald, coach Eric Spolestra indicated Friday that Winslow will be out for the next two weeks. This is stemming from his back injury. Once the two weeks are up, he will be re-evaluated at that point.

This is another setback in what has been a difficult process for Justise Winslow. He was back on the court January 8 against Indiana, but he has not returned sense. In that game, he missed both shots he took. Recording two rebounds, an assist, and a steal, he made a noticeable impact.

Winslow has just not been healthy enough to get on the court consistently this season. Duncan Robinson has filled in for him in his absence. Robinson has averaged 11.8 points in 40 games this season. One of his best games of the year came against Atlanta on December 10. In that contest, he scored 34 points on 12-of-16 shooting. He went 10-of-14 from beyond the arc.

It will be interesting to see what occurs after the two weeks are up. Are the Heat going to trade Winslow at the deadline? The date for the trade deadline is February 6 at 3 PM EST. Five Reasons Sports noted on the Five on the Floor podcast that they don’t think Winslow suits up for the Heat this season. With the trade deadline being so close to that two-week timeframe, that is certainly believable.

Winslow needs to get healthy, and maybe have a fresh start somewhere else. Right now, he is just taking up space for Miami. Obviously, things may be different when he is healthy, but we have yet to see it. A healthy Winslow is great. And oft-injured Winslow is not ideal. We’ll have to see how this plays out.

Miami Heat’s Justise Winslow missing both games in New York

Justise Winslow will not play for the Miami Heat in New York, either against the Nets on Friday night or the Knicks on Sunday afternoon, after a setback with his back injury.

Health has been a problem for Winslow this season. He has only played in 11 games to this point. His last contest came on Wednesday against Indiana. In that game, he saw the four for 15:33. He missed both shots he attempted but did manage to record two rebounds, an assist, and a block.

For his Miami Heat career, Justice Winslow has played for five seasons in 241 games. He has recorded nine points per game in addition to 5.4 rebounds per game. His best season came last year. He played in 66 games, starting 52 of them. He recorded 12.6 points per contest as well as 5.4 rebounds per game. He saw an increase in minutes in comparison to the 2017-18 season. Playing 29.7 minutes per contest, that was an increase from 2017-18. He played in 24.7 minutes per game that year.

So far this season, Winslow is playing 23 minutes per contest. His best game to this point in the season came against the Memphis Grizzlies on October 23. He scored 27 points, going 10-of-21 from the field. In addition, he recorded seven rebounds and seven assists. It was certainly a nice way to start the season for Winslow.

When healthy, he is undoubtedly an asset for Miami. However, it seems like he has been injured more often than on the floor. One has to wonder if the Heat will deal him prior to the trade deadline in an effort to get more production from another asset. As for right now, their main goal should be to see that he gets healthy.

Winslow, Butler Practice for Miami Heat, Will Travel

For all their success this year, the Miami Heat have yet to accomplish one important goal . . . fielding a healthy roster.  The Heat came into the season missing their newly signed superstar, Jimmy Butler, due to the birth of his first child.  And there were the self-inflicted setbacks, most notably from high-paid reserves Dion Waiters and James Johnson.

But most concerning has been the rash of injuries that has plagued the Heat’s back court rotation of Justise Winslow and Goran Dragic.  The injuries to both of Miami’s point guards has led to an increased burden on Butler and a “playoff-style” rotation of 8 or 9 players that has seemingly shown in weary legs at the end of road games and back to back scenarios.  Even with Dragic’s recent return and stellar play, the shortened rotation has still been in place thanks to the uneven play of forwards Kelly Olynyk and Chris Silva.

Reinforcements, however, look to be on the way with a breakout game from Johnson Sunday night against the Blazers.  Johnson’s size, playmaking ability and defense were on display for the first time in months as he finally received the nod from Coach Erik Spoelstra with Butler taking the night off.  “We stay ready around here,” replied Johnson when asked how he was able to shake off the rust of weeks on the bench to impact the game in such a fashion.

And it would seem that the return of Winslow may be on the horizon as he was upgraded to questionable on Sunday night, even though he didn’t play.  Monday Winslow was seen swimming with dolphins and teammate Bam Adebayo and Tuesday Spoelstra told media that he practiced with the team and was travelling to Indiana for Wednesday’s game against the Pacers, a positive sign.

Butler practiced with the team as well, which is a good signal that he will be available as well on Wednesday night.  So a fully healthy Heat squad is finally a real possibility in the coming days which should be a welcome sign to Spoelstra and his staff, as well as present new rotation challenges.  But after weeks of riding an 8-man rotation, those are great challenges to have.

Attrition may Have Uncovered Potent Lineup for Heat

A potent lineup for the Heat may have revealed itself.

The Miami Heat have somehow managed to maintain course despite crucial injuries to Justise Winslow and Goran Dragic.


Miami has started to show some vulnerability, as evidenced by their first truly bad loss of the year at Memphis.

Jimmy Butler needs a break.

However the team once again found enough gas Wednesday to end Philadelphia’s undefeated run at home.  The common denominators for most Heat lineups lately have been Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Kendrick Nunn.  That trio has been in the top three lineups for Miami in terms of minutes per game, with Duncan Robinson and Meyers Leonard rounding things out.

Switching to Airplane Mode

One intriguing combination has been to bring in Derrick Jones Jr. for Meyers Leonard early and late.  Leonard typically opens each half but has not been utilized much, if at all down the stretch.  Jones, Jr. has been seeing a huge increase in minutes recently due to several factors, including the razor thin rotation Erik Spoelstra has to work with.  That faith has been rewarded as Jones continues to carve out a more significant role.  Over the last seven games, DJJ is averaging nearly 30 minutes per game and is starting to feel it from downtown.  He is 6-for-13 in his last four games and has scored in double figures three times in that span, while his defense has also made a huge impact.


The lineup featuring Butler/Jones, Jr./Adebayo/Robinson/Nunn has been used in just three games going into Wednesday.  Yet in that limited sample the numbers have been encouraging and perhaps worth a look.  Rebounding is a legitimate concern without a second traditional big however, time will tell how the scales balance in that aspect.


Butler has been all that Heat fans could have hoped for but is exerting a ton out there. He struggled in his latest return to Philadelphia and is logging a Thibodeau-ian amount of minutes lately.  Butler is playing almost 39 minutes per contest in December which is nearly six minutes more than his career average. His 26.3 usage rate this season would be the second highest total of his career if maintained.

While DJJ has been a key cog in the wheel, the emergence of Adebayo is what has held things together.  The reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week has continued to carry the load on both ends.  Adebayo is the anchor, not only on defense but from the high post where his skill set shines.  Bam is averaging 18/11/5  in December and his ability to finish on the pick-and-roll, or run things from the top, has kept defenses off balance.

Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson have been inconsistent but when they are on, they give this group the scoring from the perimeter it needs.  Nunn erupted for 26 points at Philadelphia and has hit half his three-point attempts on this road trip. If he can start making the easy plays and distribute the ball, expect another nice progression from the rookie.  Meanwhile, Robinson has been feast-or-famine, but when he’s eating the whole offense changes.  He has become a comfortable second option on the perimeter when the initial action doesn’t hit, while doing just enough on defense.  Robinson is shooting over 47% from deep this month and is getting almost six minutes more per game.

The lineup is shooting 59.6% overall and 52% from deep, while averaging a 3.6 assist-to-turnover ratio.  On the opposite end they are holding opponents to just 40% shooting, including 26.5% from beyond the arc.  Conversely, they are 6.5 points better overall than the opponent so far.  Perhaps that is why they were the “Five on the Floor” to close the game out in Philadelphia.

When Dragic (and Winslow?) return, it will likely shake up the backcourt rotation once again.

For now, we may be seeing this group again when it counts.

Heat lineups

Miami Heat: Jimmy Butler out for Wednesday’s game against Rockets

The Miami Heat will face a tough Houston Rockets team without one of its best players. Forward Jimmy Butler will not play in Wednesday’s game against the Rockets due to an illness.

This is certainly an unfortunate development as Butler has been fantastic for the Heat this season. He is averaging 18.9 points per contest, to go along with 5.4 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game. He is truly doing it all for Miami, and he is undoubtedly one of the leaders in the locker room.

If there is one positive about this injury, it is that the Heat beat the Milwaukee Bucks without Butler in October. They are facing a team of equal talent in the Houston Rockets Wednesday night.

This could also mean that Justise Winslow gets the start. Winslow has played in five games this season averaging 13.8 points. His best game statistically came on October 23 against Memphis where he scored 27 points on 10-of-21 shooting. He also managed to record seven rebounds and seven assists.

Winslow also had a nice game against Minnesota on October 27. In 42 minutes of work, he recorded 20 points on 8-of-17 shooting. He also proved to be an impactful playmaker, recording six assists on the evening. He has put up points when given the opportunity. For him, it’s all about staying healthy. Wednesday night, he may get his first chance at extended action in quite a while.

Miami Heat Watch Party at Duffy’s

Make sure to join us on Wednesday at Duffy’s for the Miami Heat game. It should be a great contest as they look to defeat the Houston Rockets. With an upstart Miami Heat team playing against one of the premier teams in the Western Conference, it is certainly must-see television.

Start your Thanksgiving holiday off right. Hopefully, the Miami Heat will make the party even better with a victory.

Heat’s Justise Winslow finally back, will play vs. Rockets

Justise Winslow will finally make his return Wednesday against the Houston Rockets.

The Miami Heat point guard has been out of action since November 5th when he collided with Nuggets forward Paul Millsap, and stayed in the game. He was placed in concussion protocol after the game and practiced for the first time today (Tuesday) since the injury. Without Winslow, Miami posted an impressive 7-2 record and didn’t miss a beat for the most part, except perhaps against Philadelphia, where his size and defense clearly would have been useful.


Duncan Robinson was able to step in for Justise and contribute solid minutes even posting a career high in points during his absence. It will be interesting to finally see the tandem of Jimmy Butler and Justise Winslow get significant play time together. Many expect them to flourish on the defensive end but question whether offensively it will work.

What Duncan Robinson gave the Heat during Winslow’s absence was a deadly three point threat which provided tons of spacing. Although Winslow isn’t an awful shooter (38 percent from three-point range the past two seasons), it will be interesting to see how this plays out especially since the Heat proved they can win games without him. Also, the Heat have been linked to names such as San Antonio’s former All-Stars, DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge, with Winslow being the centerpiece in most of these speculated trades.

So the fit here may determine Pat Riley’s actions.

Winslow’s return comes at a great time as the Heat face one of the more lethal backcourts in the NBA — Russell Westbrook and scoring leader James Harden. His size and defense will be important in stopping Houston’s high powered offense.

Justise is better.

Now we’ll see if the Heat are too.

Shifting heights… and being high on Heat roster

The NBA recently got real.

The league mandated that all teams must annually update their players height measurements without shoes and the measurements for the Heat players are finally in.

Down from “6-7” with shoes, Justise Winslow could be the potential opening night starting guard for the Heat with official height measurements of “6-6”. Rookie Tyler Herro who was drafted 13th overall from Kentucky will officially listed at 6-5 a little shorter than his combine height of 6-6, second round pick from Stanford KZ Okpala official numbers measure him at 6-8 instead of 6-9. Heat guards Dion Waiters and Goran Dragic, Winslow’s most likely potential backcourt mates, both were listed at “6-3.

The frontcourt?

The Heat’s big trade acquisition, new face of the franchise and likely starting small forward Jimmy Butler, who is “6’8” in shoes, will officially be listed an inch shorter at “6-7,” likewise for James Johnson, who is away from the team until he meets his conditioning requirements. And the same  for Duncan Robinson who also will now be officially listed an inch shorter at “6-7.” The Heat will have one 7 footer on the roster instead of two, as Meyers Leonard,  who will remain a seven footer is down by an inch from 7-1 to 7-0 and Kelly Olynyk from 7-0 to 6-11. Next in line to be the Heat franchise center, Bam Adebayo, is measured at 6-9, down from 6-10.

So basically every player except for Dragic, Devon Reed and Udonis Haslem shrunk an inch without shoes. Does this change anything? No, it doesn’t. However, while we’re discussing players heights, what this does say is that the Heat will be a lot bigger, especially in the wing positions than previous seasons. In the second quarter of the scrimmage on Sunday, with Olynyk injured, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra started a lineup of Winslow (6-6), Butler (6-7), Robinson (6-7) Adebayo (6-9) and Leonard (7-0). That is a huge line up for a heat team that often deployed 6-3 guards such as Dragic, Waiters, and Tyler Johnson together in recent years.

Another big lineup could feature Winslow, Butler and Okpala but we should expect the second-round rookie to play more in versatile lineups at the four, similar to James Johnson the last two seasons. Spoelstra could also go smaller by sliding Winslow and Butler down to the 3 and 4, with Dragic and Waiters at the 1 and 2, although I don’t think it would be wise. So many possibilities. What about Herro in the backcourt with Winslow and Butler along with Olynyk, Leonard or Jones next to Adebayo?

Needless to say, this roster is one of the more versatile and flexible groups Spoelstra has had recently. The versatility is not just measured with a ruler, but with skillsets.

Miami Heat scrimmage showcases team’s new look

The Dolphins couldn’t lose Sunday.

Neither could the Hurricanes.

And of course, neither could the Heat.

They were playing themselves, after all, for the Red, White and Pink Scrimmage to benefit breast cancer research.

Naturally, not much defense was played. But the energy was different — as in better — than it’s been the past couple of seasons. This team feels fresh.

Here’s the best from the day….