The NBA Trade Deadline has now past, and the Memphis Grizzlies were major players all week long. The big story for the team was if and where they would trade away NBA veteran Andre Iguodala. After much speculation, the Miami Heat stepped up and agreed to a deal receiving Iguodala, Jae Crowder, and Solomon Hill in exchange for Justise Winslow, James Johnson, and Dion Waiters. After some deck shuffling sending James Johnson to Minnesota and waiving Dion Waiters, the only player left in Memphis after this trade is Justise Winslow.
Winslow was definitely the biggest acquisition for the Grizzlies in this deal. Maybe they theoretically could have gotten additional picks from the Heat, but as it stands they now have another young player with a high ceiling ready to come back healthy from injury, hopefully soon. Winslow could be a perfect fit on this Grizzlies team who need an athletic wing that can guard all positions to pair next to Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr.
The biggest question mark for Justise Winslow will be his health going forward. The guy just cannot catch a break when it comes to injuries. During his sophomore season, he sat out the majority of the year after a torn labrum in his right shoulder. There were also nagging knee issues that kept him out the last 14 games of the regular season. He was able to play 68 games the past two seasons, but this season he currently has been out with a hip/back injury that will sideline him for at least another two weeks. For Winslow to build and have peak development, he is going to have to avoid the injury bug that has stunted his growth this far.
Justise Winslow’s career numbers are decent, with much room for improvement. He is averaging 9.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 41.7% from the field and 33.7% from three-point range. This can be contrasted with his numbers from this season. Over just 11 games, he is averaging 11.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game on 38.8% shooting from the field and 22.2% from three. While that three point shooting percentage is a big concern, his other season numbers has shown growth compared to his career numbers, especially in rebounds and assists.
This could be attributed to the uptick in minutes he got over the last three seasons. Winslow has taken this season and showed off a much more complete game than in years past. He is more of a playmaker instead of creating for himself. Memphis fans got to see this first-hand in the season opener as he had 27 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. This is the type of player he can be for the Memphis Grizzlies.
The best part of Winslow’s game is his attacking and finishing around the rim. It is where he makes and money. Winslow has the ability to get the ball outside of the three-point arc and find a way to dribble in with ease to score at the hoop. This eliminates his need to shoot threes, which has never really been his strong suit. He knows how to use his length and size to ease his way for layups.
He is able to get around for a scoop-and-score with relative ease, which is quite impressive against almost any defense. This is the strong aspect of Winslow’s game that can be counted on when he comes back healthy.
Another part of Winslow’s offense that is a go-to for him is his fall-away turnaround jumper. He gets down in the paint and uses those long arms again to gain separation and hit a mid-range jumper. It can be utilized when the paint is clogged with bigger bodies. Instead of trying to finish through regardless, he takes the time to spin around for a mid-range shot.
Because of his above-average basketball IQ, he had the smarts to pull up using his length for an easy basket. This is the style you will get from Justise Winslow on offense, and he has been using it to the best of his abilities.
One final aspect of Winslow’s game that has improved this season is his court awareness and vision. He has been looking to pass more than he has ever before. It is a huge step up in his game because he can create for others. After the first three games of the year, he was averaging more than six assists a game. A pick-and-roll with Winslow and either Jaren Jackson Jr. or Brandon Clarke would be deadly. That is something Coach Taylor Jenkins needs to store away for later.
The bottom line with Justise Winslow is that the raw talent and ability is there. He is always battling injury which makes it difficult to gain consistency improving on your game. Winslow already looks excited to be in a new environment, and Memphis is a perfect place for him. He can come in hungry with that chip on the shoulder mentality after Miami dumped him off. Even in only a few games, Winslow’s complete game has looked better. Continue attacking the rim and having the vision to make other players better and Justise WInslow will be a huge addition to this young Memphis Grizzlies’ roster.