Miami Heat forward Justise Winslow missed the remaining games of the 2016-17 NBA season after suffering an injury. Despite not having Winslow, the Heat managed to show an impressive performance and almost earned a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Should the Heat trade Winslow and the 2017 first-round pick to acquire an NBA superstar this summer?
In January, Justise Winslow underwent a season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. The Heat were 10-24 when Winslow suffered an injury and projected to be a lottery team. However, they managed to bounce back and finished the season with a 41-41 win-loss record.
“There were definitely times when I thought, ‘Oh, man, I wish I was out there,’ or, ‘I could help with this or that,’ ” Winslow, 21, said Monday outside the Heat locker room. “I would just figure out ways for us to win more games.”
NBA Rumors: Trading Justise Winslow
It has been a debate among fans if the Heat would be better with Winslow out of the team. With him on the starting lineup, the Heat were 4-14. According to Ira Winderman of Sun Sentinel, the Heat thrived when all of their starters, excluding Hassan Whiteside, are threats in the perimeter.
Last summer, Winslow tried to improve his shooting with the help of shooting consultant Rob Fodor. Unfortunately, his wrist injury prevented him from achieving his goal. In 18 games he played this season, Winslow only shot 35.6 percent from the field and 20 percent from beyond the arc.
When he’s 100 percent recovered from injury, the 21-year-old shooting guard may consider working on his shooting this summer. However, it remains questionable if the Heat still consider him as part of their long-term plan. As Winderman notes, the Heat have two options in the upcoming offseason.
First, they could decide to keep Winslow and the 14th overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft. Or, trade those assets for a higher selection or an NBA superstar. Knowing Winslow’s league-wide value, Heat president Pat Riley will surely consider both options as they plan to immediately return to title contention.
Heat could enter playoffs if Justise Winslow plays full season
Despite the trade rumors, coach Erik Spoelstra has strong belief that the Heat could have a higher chance to enter the playoffs if Winslow didn’t suffer an injury. Spoelstra sees the improvement shown by Winslow since last season and believes he could make a huge impact on the team.
“Justise coming off the summer he had, and if he was able to play a full season, and not have just the shoulder injury but the wrist injury coming out of preseason, would have had a major impact on this team,” Spoelstra said during his season wrap-up.
Photo courtesy: Erik Drost/Flickr
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