When the Miami Heat started this season without a true backup point guard, some fans and pundits fretted. And Goran Dragic has missed a lot of time with a knee injury — he missed eight games before returning to play in Miami’s Friday night win over the Phoenix Suns, but was held out on the second night of a back-to-back Saturday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
On Saturday night, the Heat’s starting backcourt of Dragic and Josh Richardson missed the game. Justise Winslow started at point guard for Miami Saturday, something he’s done a couple previous times this season. And the Heat’s first-round pick in the 2015 NBA Draft powered the Heat to their most impressive win of the season.
Winslow finished with 21 points on 7-of-16 shooting from the field, six rebounds, nine assists and just one turnover in 39 minutes of action. And the Heat have outscored their opponents by 54 points with Winslow on the court over the last six games.
The versatile forward is playing the best basketball of his young NBA career right now. After notching a season-high in points Friday night with 20 against the Suns, Winslow beat his own mark with his 21 points against the Clippers.
With Dragic returning to the lineup for the Heat’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers Monday night, one wonders how the Heat can continue to utilize Winslow’s versatility. Winslow is at his best when he has the ball in his hands to serve as a playmaker — and he hasn’t had the opportunities to do that while playing for a team with Dragic and Dwyane Wade on it.
Could the Heat maximize Winslow’s talent in future lineups, perhaps having him play some minutes as the “point guard” with Miami’s second unit? That may help Winslow continue to improve.