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Justise Winslow at shooting guard is more like Dion Waiters than Tyler Johnson for Miami Heat

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Well-rested and finding a niche as a shooting guard, Winslow could become a pleasant surprise for the Heat.

NBA: Miami Heat at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Scoring 111 points wasn’t enough for the Miami Heat to defeat the Chicago Bulls on Monday. In a game similar to the Cleveland Cavaliers blowout, where Kevin Love couldn’t be stopped, the Bulls feasted from downtown.

Justin Holiday had an especially disruptive effect going 7 of 11 on his 3-point attempts.

Overall the Bulls made 16 of their 39 (41%) 3-pointers. With Justise Winslow on the court, Chicago went 6 of 22 (27.2%) from downtown. With Winslow off the court they made 10 of their 17 (58.8%) 3-point attempts. Clearly Winslow is an elite defender.

Tyler Johnson was in the game for 20 minutes and had 10 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 0 steals, 0 blocks, 2 turnovers, 0 personal fouls. In Winslow’s 21 minutes, he had 4 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 0 blocks, 1 turnover, 1 personal foul. What Winslow gave up in scoring and spacing, he contributed in other ways.

With Kelly Olynyk and Josh Richardson as forwards, and Winslow at 6’7” as a shooting guard/wing, he presents a nightmare for a 6’4” or 6’5” shooting guard to defend. In such a scenario, Goran Dragic, Richardson, and Olynyk would be the floor-spacers Justise needs, and Hassan Whiteside acts as the roll man.

The combination of his defense at the 3-point line and size advantage against smaller guards might be Winslow’s unfair advantage as the Heat’s shooting guard. Normally Richardson slides over to the 2 position with Justise in line-up, but that didn’t work well before, so a slight twist might be successful. On defense they make a great duo with their seamless switching against wings.

When Winslow drives to the rim against a 6’4” shooting guard, the undersized defender would probably need help, giving Winslow an opportunity for an assist to an open man. At 6’7” Winslow may become an overall better version of the Dion Waiters drive and dish, spray and pay, approach from last season. In his career Waiters doesn’t finish efficiently at the rim (44% 2PT%) when defenders remained glued to the 3-point shooters.

Usually Waiters has better scoring range compared to Winslow, but this season Dion’s ankle problem caused his 3PT% to drop to 30.6%, while Justise is converting at an unsustainable 40.5% from 3-point land. On offense Dion’s potential on offense is marred by his questionable shot selection, tendency to play hero-ball, and hardly making any backdoor cuts to the rim.

Winslow’s team-first approach on offense and superior defense would call for an adjustment to the Heat’s current game plan if he plays shooting guard. Perhaps competing against the bigger forwards in the NBA on offense caused Winslow problems, which might be solved if he goes against the smaller guards on offense. Defensively he can defend 1-4. By the way, coach Erik Spoelstra would be happy if his team wouldn’t allow 119 points in a game again.