Miami Heat News: Erik Spoelstra likens Justise Winslow to Spurs star Kawhi Leonard

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Photo courtesy: Erik Drost/Wikimedia Commons

The Miami Heat are slowly moving on with the departure of Dwyane Wade and the possible early retirement of Chris Bosh due to blood clot issues. Aside from Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside, head coach Erik Spoelstra sees Justise Winslow as someone they can rely on in the succeeding years.

According to the Sun Sentinel, Heat general manager Andy Elisburg said that they plan on picking up Justise Winslow’s third-year rookie-scale option. Winslow was selected 10th overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft.

“We will, but we haven’t done it yet,” said Elisburg, who traveled with the Heat for the two-game preseason trip that concluded with Saturday’s 101-96 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves in Louisville.

In the recent offseason, Justise Winslow showed his dedication to the Heat by dropping five pounds as he focused getting faster in the open court and making himself ready for the starting role. The 20-year-old small forward eyes to improve his shooting, especially from beyond the arc.

“He does what he’s always done, and that makes winning plays,” Spoelstra said. “He is one of those unique players.”

In their preseason game against the San Antonio Spurs, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra noticed the similarity between Justise Winslow and Kawhi Leonard.

“The guy he was playing against on the other side [Friday] night is very similar,” Spoelstra said. “They make a lot of winning plays. And you can’t define them necessarily by a box score. Now, Justice can fill up a box score, and he’s showing his development. We plan on using him all over the court — handling the ball, posting up, drives, spacing the floor. The more responsibility we’ve given him, the more inspired his play has become.”

In the ESPN Summer Forecast, the Miami Heat are projected to finish in the 12th spot in the Eastern Conference. This is quite expected since the Heat just lost lots of key players this offseason. However, if Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic, and Justise Winslow surpass the expectations, there is a possibility that a new ‘Big Three’ will be born in Miami in the upcoming season.

Photo courtesy: Erik Drost/Wikimedia Commons

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