Don’t sleep on Justis Winslow on the Portland Trail Blazers this year

Justise Winslow is set to play an important role in Portland Trail Blazers this chapter. At 6’6, Winslow has the ability to do a number of things in position that the Blazers have been lacking for the better part of a decade.

The 26-year-old enjoyed a spike in playing time afterwards Blazers are treatedalong with Keon Johnson and Eric Bledsoe, for Norman Powell and Robert Covington in February.

Limited to just 11 games in the Blazers’ colors – with the franchise publicly dropping in the standings – Winslow demonstrated the skills and veteran composure, capable of competing on both sides of the ball, starting and playing nearly 27 minutes a night. Maybe it’s a nice feature after barely seeing the floor at that time that he still rivals Los Angeles Clipperslimited to 12.9 minutes of modest competition.

Next season, the left-footed player will return to the Moda position in a contract year, bringing the Blazers a unique combination of size, speed, defense and ball from a forward power position.

Through his first six seasons with Miami Heat And the Memphis GrizzliesThe former Duke star played the majority of his minutes as a young forward with a bit of a shot keeper and power forward.

But last season, perhaps by realizing he wasn’t the best player in the league, he was mostly pushed into the four with moments in the five.

This was a correct adjustment as the previous ninth pick hadn’t been able to raise the three-point shooter above 30 percent since the 2018-19 season. However, it was built like a ‘brick house’ – an Australian term meaning solidly built – while still being smart enough to protect some of the league’s best and biggest wings.

ball handling

Winslow is one of the most reliable NBA forwards with the ball in his hands. The former lottery pick should be able to help lead coordinators Damian Lillard, Inverney Simmons and Josh Hart play stretching exercises, thanks to his tight grip, above-average passing passes and natural court awareness.

I’ve done it before. Playing Shadow under 30 minutes into the match with the Heat in 2018-19, Winslow was able to average 4.3 assists in a 2.2 turnover on the reused Heat franchise. And while the injury may slow him down slightly, last season’s play showed that he can still go down the hill, dodge through traffic, and either finish or ease traffic.

defense

On February 9, just days after arriving in Portland, Winslow was tasked with guarding LeBron James in an unexpected Blazer victory against an old foe. Los Angeles Lakers.

While James still had an impact on the game, the Blazers likely wouldn’t have won without Winslow who scored four steals while maintaining a positive/minus despite the minutes he spent on a Taco Tuesday fan.

His defensive bits come from an innate wit in basketball, that big build and impressively fast feet, which help him stay ahead of the likes of James. His short stint in Portland also produced his highest steal at 1.7.

So while a lack of shooting will limit Winslow from playing a small forward when attacking, he’ll be comfortably able to guard positions three to five, a bit of variety for Damian Lillard and his teammates. It has been missing in recent years.

place in rotation

The Blazers are already deeply in a position of power forward after years of cycling through the likes of Al Farouk Aminu, Robert Covington, Carmelo Anthony, Anthony Tolliver, Noah Funley, Zach Collins, Scale Lapiseri, Wayne Gabriel and Jaylene Hurd.

Jerami Grant was brought to Portland from Detroit Pistons To start in all fours and have the ability and fitness to start, compete and succeed on both sides of the floor.

sitting behind him Winslow, Trendon, Watford, two players are ready to play minutes, bringing a range of abilities to this now versatile set. Greg Brown III and Jabbari Walker are also fours but they are unlikely to see the time at first. Like Watford, Winslow can switch between four and five, thanks to intelligence, energy and height, but perhaps not quite as athletically.

Good thing too, because with Jusuf Nurkic being the only full-size center on the roster, Winslow, Grant and Watford, and in desperate situations, Drew Eubanks will be called upon to play the top two spots.

The only real competition that Winslow Watford might need to worry about is a rookie Walker in the second round. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. Right now, Winslow will have about 20 minutes a night to swap out for his pine nuts.

Contract Status

Winslow is in a contract year, which means he plays on the next payday. And for a guy who was initially described as a highly potential customer – apparently Boston Celtics They were willing to part four potential first-round players to trap him in 2015 – he hasn’t yet made any big money.

Much of this is due to his injury history and every minute since the Heat traded him for the Grizzlies. Next season might be his best chance to reignite those early years and deliver on the promise he showed in Duke and the lottery pick that followed. Sure, he’ll come off the bench, but he’ll be given every chance to win the next decade.

But whether he finishes the season in Portland remains to be seen with general manager Joe Cronin aware of the fact that Winslow’s expired $4 million deal may be able to return something as part of a bigger deal on deadline.

conclusion

While many still see the Blazers’ deal with Clippers as a loss, the longer that passes, the more the trade will actually help the franchise. In exchange for Covington who was unlikely to return and Norman Powell’s bloated contract, Portland got a second round, plenty of space, and Eric Bledsoe, a promising youngster at Johnson and a seasoned veteran at Winslow and likely to prove crucial this season. Or as a piece in a future trade.

I am an unabashed fan of Winslow. I actually saw him as an upbeat target from the Blazers in the last season before he landed in Los Angeles. While Winslow’s lack of reimbursement will likely keep him from taking long minutes, he’s still a valuable, youthful asset.

For this team, he’ll be able to relieve the Portland’s main movers of smoothing over while providing pretty much everything the team needs and it’s not a long-range shootout.