Playing in both the Orlando and Las Vegas Summer Leagues, Justise Winslow showed some flashes of why he felt like a steal for Miami at No. 10. You could see the athleticism on both ends of the floor, he played at pace but under control, he had solid handles, and he knew how to attack the rim and use his body to draw calls.
But his shot needed work. He hit just 34.2 percent overall and 25 percent from three (3-of-12) across the two summer leagues. There seemed to be a little hitch in his release.
That’s what he’s been working on with Heat coaches through the rest of the summer, Winslow told the Miami Herald.
“I definitely feel comfortable shooting from three-point range but it’s working on everything: pull-ups, mid-range, posting up, finishing. There has been a huge emphasis on my shooting mechanics, trying to get everything more fluid and more natural so I can become a better three-point shooter. But there hasn’t been an over-emphasis on three-point shooting.”
Winslow shot the ball fairly well at Duke (41 percent from three) and was impressive in the tournament, but he needs to clean everything up now that defenders are faster and longer.
Winslow is should get plenty of run off the bench for the Heat this season, and in a system that suits his strengths. He’s probably not going to get the touches needed to get the numbers for Rookie of the Year (not with Jahlil Okafor and Emmanuel Mudiay getting the keys to their respective franchises) but he’s going to look good fast. And get better from there.
So long as that shot starts to fall.
The Heat have added to their growing stable of training-camp talent, signing undrafted VCU guard Briante Weber to a non-guaranteed deal, according to a report by Yahoo’s Shams Charania:
Weber played four years at VCU, and DraftExpress ranked him the No. 33 senior in the country. It’s unlikely he makes the roster, but it can’t hurt to have some point guard competition in camp, especially if the Heat are hoping to unload Mario Chalmers at some point.
It was a formality that they’d do this eventually after the year he had, but the Heat have fully guaranteed Hassan Whiteside’s salary for next season. Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports that, although Miami had until December 1 to make a decision, they’ve taken that uncertainty off the table several weeks before training camp.
Whiteside is an interesting case from a salary-cap standpoint. In the short term, he’s maybe the best value in the entire league: a legitimate starting-caliber center, dominant at times, making less than $1 million ($981,348 to be exact). But next summer, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent, and the Heat won’t ave his full Bird rights, which means they will have to dip into their cap space if they want to re-sign him, and if Whiteside has anything close to the out-of-nowhere success of last season, he’s going to be in line for a massive raise, maybe even a max deal. That’s cap space that the Heat will need if they hope to chase Kevin Durant next summer, which all indications are that they will. Shedding some salary during the season (if they can find a taker for Mario Chalmers, Chris Andersen and maybe even Josh McRoberts) would be smart. It will be fascinating to see how Whiteside’s situation plays out next summer, but for now, the Heat have an incredible bargain on their hands.