Justise Winslow was the true MVP on the national championship team during Duke's run through the NCAA Tournament this past spring. Winslow made the plays when Duke needed him to. Case in point, he was fantastic against Utah when the team was searching for answers. In fact, during the NCAA Tournament, Winslow upped his rebounding to over nine per game and shot 8-for-14 from beyond the arc.
The Houston product’s basketball pedigree is steep. His father, Ricky, was a McDonald’s All-American and also played for the national title as a member of a 1984 University of Houston Cougars team that fell short against Georgetown.
The younger Winslow emerged as the matchup problem teams could not solve. He was too strong for collegiate guards to defend and too quick for frontcourt players. His confidence grew as the season wore on and he became more assertive as the season progressed. For the season, Winslow shot 48 percent from the field, 41 percent from beyond-the-arc and 64 percent from the foul line, respectable but not great numbers.
His assertion into the power forward spot provided Duke the athleticism and quickness needed to be successful. Of course, his success as a power forward drew concerns because of the dreaded ‘tweener" label. Outstanding play during the NCAA Tournament from the perimeter, hitting big shots and making strong drives erased for many these concerns.
His offensive game is comprised of 3-point shot ability, powerful slashing drives and a post up game. Defensively, he is one of the best perimeter defenders in the Draft. He can potentially guard three positions. He can play above the rim and hit the glass. He doesn’t need the basketball in his hands to contribute which for better or worse is a rare characteristic from this lottery class. Physically, Winslow is NBA ready with NBA athleticism. Right now he is a wing player with potential to mold into a guard.
Areas under close examination are his ability to pull up off the dribble, the release speed of his jump shot and his ball handling. For him to be the first perimeter player off the board, he will need to prove proficiency in these areas in his pre-draft team workouts.
Projected: 3. 76ers, 4. Knicks, 5. Magic, 6. Kings, 7. Nuggets