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Is Dwyane Wade truly the right mentor for Justise Winslow?

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Would Winslow be better suited at a far different role than what Wade plays?

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat's Justise Winslow was on the court for a measly 12:43 minutes in the Miami Heat's victory over the Atlanta Hawks. Finishing the game without a single point on only two shots, three turnovers, one assist, two personal fouls, three rebounds, he still managed to be +4 during his brief stint. Winslow left the game soon after he picked up an offensive foul by attempting to bully his way to the basket.

Before the season, Sports Illustrated featured Winslow as one of its covers with Dwyane Wade as his mentor. So far Justise has exceeded expectations by impacting Heat games in a far different fashion than Wade does. 

A powerfully built 6'6" and 225 lbs. 19 year-old teenager, in six years he will fill out more to the size and weight of Draymond Green, who is 6'7" and 230 lbs. at 25 years of age. On the Heat team, Winslow's physical profile and style of play a few seasons from today would mesh more with Udonis Haslem, who is 6'8" and 235 lbs. Rather than attempting to be something he is not, Justise could replace Haslem to become Heat's super-athletic center in their small-ball line-up.

Looking at the clip below from his days at Duke University, Winslow looks great running the court at full throttle rather than standing in the corner playing the half-court game that Wade has grown used to during his years in Miami.

Per NBA stats, the top two teams in assists are the Warriors and Spurs, who have a combined record of 45-6. Another common trait they have is defensive rebounding where they are second and third, following the Chicago Bulls. Corralling rebounds for transition points seems to be a winning formula in the NBA. With his strength, rebounding prowess and ability to run the floor, Winslow is a natural at the 5 for when the Heat want to go small.

At 19 years of age, fans should not expect Justise Winslow to be a finished product, as he is still trying to establish his role on the team. He seems to be most comfortable near the rim getting rebounds and scoring on tip-ins.

While the talk around the league is 3-point shooting, the Spurs actually attempt less 3-point shots per game than the Heat, i.e. 19.0 for Spurs versus 19.2 for Heat. The Heat's next foe, the Brooklyn Nets, are last in the NBA in 3-point tries at only 16.0 per game. The Nets game tomorrow will be fought in the painted area.

If Wade were to mentor anyone, it would be Josh Richardson, who has more of the Wade's physical attributes. Richardson has not seen much floor time due his lack of polish, so perhaps Wade could bring him up to NBA speed.

Beno Udrih has a +/- ranking similar to Goran Dragic and has done an excellent job when the Heat need him. Working Richardson into the rotation along with Tyler Johnson would provide the Heat with a sustainable backcourt, as we are closer to mid-season than pre-season.

Figures show the characteristics of the top two teams in NBA are assists and defensive rebounding. Justise Winslow might be the steal of the 2015 draft, but not in the way originally planned. He could be the key to Miami Heat's small-ball team, as Hassan Whiteside dominates the more traditional part of the game. The Heat would have the flexibility to take whatever the other team gives them.