Justise Winslow, Amaré Stoudemire, Gerald Green were seen as three off-season key additions, while Josh Richardson was totally ignored by most commentators to have a significant role during his rookie season.
In that season’s opening game Miami’s starters were Chris Bosh, Dragic, Luol Deng, Wade, Hassan Whiteside, with Gerald Green, Winslow, Chalmers, Josh McRoberts, Udonis Haslem coming off the bench.
Meanwhile Richardson was inactive in his first three games, and scored more than one basket only once in his first 42 games on the Heat’s roster.
Fast forwarding to the present day, Winslow may surprisingly wind up as the best point guard from the 2015 NBA Draft, even if the Heat weren’t looking for one at the time.
Just as Richardson came out of the shadows cast as the leading man this season, since 2015 Winslow reinvented himself by finding where his innate strengths were and pushing them for the maximum benefit of his team.
Back when Winslow was drafted, the consensus opinion saw him as a small forward, because being a point guard was something left for other prospects to do.
The top 10 picks at point guard from the class of 2015 were:
- D’Angelo Russell (2)
- Emmanuel Mudiay (7)
- Cameron Payne (14)
- Terry Rozier (16)
- Jerian Grant (19)
- Delon Wright (20)
- Tyus Jones (24)
- Olivier Hanlon (42)
- Joseph Young (43)
- Andrew Harrison (44)
In their fourth NBA season Russell and Winslow have emerged as the best players in that position, though both have their own twist on how to best lead the team to wins.
Winslow has a skill set surpassing the traditional boundaries of the point position with his defensive prowess, rebounding skills, ability to withstand contact around the rim, etc.
Asking whether Russell or Winslow is a better player is like comparing apples to oranges, because each has their unique style on the court and impact the game in different ways.
In the coming years they will blossom according to their own schedules, but still contribute to a winning culture.
Although Winslow turns 23 years old this Tuesday (March 26), he can join 22-year-old youngsters Derrick Jones Jr. and Bam Adebayo in accepting the torch during the few remaining games of Wade’s “Last Dance” season.