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Miami Heat rookies Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson reflect on NBA preseason debut

With their first game under their belts, the two rookies can now learn from the experience.

Surya Fernandez - SB Nation/Hot Hot Hoops

Sure it was just a preseason game and the final score or individual stats didn't ultimately matter.

But for Miami Heat rookies Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson, Sunday's 90-77 loss against the Charlotte Hornets signified the first steps on their NBA journey and there were plenty of lessons to be learned.

For starters, the speed of the game took some adjusting to and the quality of the opposition wasn't anything like they faced together in Summer League action. Both played off the bench, with Winslow ending up leading the team with 28 minutes in which he scored nine points and recorded three assists, two steals and two rebounds.

He struggled with his shot, going 2-9 from the field, but as he showed in Summer League he can use his strength and quickness to get to the free throw line, where he went 5-8. Fitting right in on defense, Winslow was an immediate upgrade out on the perimeter but also showed he can bang inside while fighting for rebounds and looking to be disruptive in the paint.

"For me it's just trying to be the best player I can be on both ends of the floor," he said. "I felt comfortable last night. Defensively, I was just trying to get in the right spots, make plays and be an athlete. On the offensive end, it was just getting used to playing with my teammates and getting used to playing with (Dwyane) Wade or playing with Josh; guys that can really make plays, playing off the ball a little bit more. On offensive, it's just getting used to my teammates and getting the chemistry but on defense it's something we can do right away as long as we communicate."

Looking at the film the next day, Winslow took away several aspects of his performance.

"For the most part, yesterday was about going out and getting adjusted to the game," he said. "We've been scrimmaging and practicing but it's nothing like a real, actual game so it was just getting used to the pace and everything. I got beat on a couple of plays, on the back door. But for me it was just trying to get in the rights spots offensively and defensively last night."

Only 19 and with one collegiate season under his belt at Duke, Winslow nonetheless said he felt at ease in his first action as a pro thanks to the Heat's methodical approach at training camp.

"I felt very prepared just with the coaching staff and the rest of the players bringing me along," he said. "It felt like I was ready for last night."

Richardson for his part said he actually felt more nerves before the Summer League but was more than ready to get into the game once coach Erik Spoelstra called his number.

"I was excited," he said. "It was tough to slow my mind down when I got out on the court but I talked to guys like Amar'e Stoudemire in the locker room after and they were just (saying) it's tough when you start out and the game is moving so fast. But they said I looked alright so that's encouraging."

Richardson entered the game in the second half and went scoreless in six minutes but was grateful for the experience to get it out of the way and now focus on his game.

"I wasn't nervous or anything like that," he said. "It was just the game was moving fast. I can adapt, it's not a problem."

Even with so much going on his head, Richardson was appreciative of the fact he was actually playing in an NBA game for the first time ever.

"It was cool just to grow up watching it my whole life and wanting to do it. Just being able to step on the court for the first time was great."