Name: Justise Winslow
Position: Small Forward
School: Duke University
Weight: 229 lbs.
Current Position Rank: No. 4 (DraftExpress.com), No. 7 (Chad Ford)
Projected Draft Position: Top-10
Player Comparison: Jimmy Butler
Featured Game: Wednesday, December 3, 2014 vs #2 Wisconsin
Justise Winslow is a small forward who has been tasked with supplanting the second overall pick from the 2014 NBA Draft, Jabari Parker, and is handling it in stride. Along with his athleticism, size and strength, Winslow is a great defender with the lateral quickness to stay in front of guards and forwards alike.
The Houston, Texas native has been one of the better players on a team that is currently 5-0 and ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press Top-25 and No. 2 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, averaging 15.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. Winslow is a dynamic player who runs the floor extremely well and is seldom seen giving up on plays.
No slouch on offense, Winslow is also known for being able to put the ball on the floor and attacking the basket. As good as he is driving to the basket and finishing close to the rim, thanks in part to his NBA-ready build, Winslow has the basketball IQ and touch to make good passes.
Playing for USA Basketball teams since 2012 and winning three gold medals in the process, Winslow has shown the ability to get favorable position around the rim, using his size as well as skill to finish or get offensive rebounds.
While Winslow has the ability to be a good defender and finish around the rim against smaller opposition, his offensive game needs some work for him to be able to excel consistently at the next level. Shooting 61 percent from the free-throw line won’t help out Winslow’s cause.
Winslow is a natural athlete, but has had troubles with his shooting stroke and working in a half-court set. He is an adequate passer and ball handler, but is not known for his play-making abilities as far as creating for himself or others at this point in his career.
There are lapses on offense where Winslow can struggle with inconsistency from mid-to-long range due to his shooting technique. Winslow would probably be graded a little higher if it were not for his shooting touch.
Fit With Lakers:
The Los Angeles Lakers are in dire need of depth at small forward, and being one of the top players at that position, Winslow could very well come in and add a different dimension to the team. The Lakers roster could use someone young and athletic like Justise on both sides of the ball.
As an athlete who tends to play under control, Winslow could come in and compliment as well as shadow Kobe Bryant to learn the nuances of the game.
The Lakers have only four players with guaranteed contracts for the 2015-2016 season, and none of them is a true small forward. Winslow is a competitor who can step into a rotation with the likes of Julius Randle, Ryan Kelly and Jordan Clarkson to bring a wave of competent youth who can take over the team for years to come.
The next test for the young Blue Devil and the Coach-K-led team will be on Dec. 3 when they face a University of Wisconsin team that made the Final Four last year and looks like one of the best teams in the nation early this year.
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