Justise Winslow recently returned to the Miami Heat rotation after a long absence due to a concussion he suffered last month.
While he has returned to the court, the spot that he had in the starting lineup to start the 2019-20 season has not been handed back to him. In the last three games, Winslow has come off the bench.
Despite that fact, the 6-foot-6 forward is expressing nothing but gratitude for the opportunities he has been given.
“I’m just happy to be out there,” Winslow said after the Heat’s comeback win over the Brooklyn Nets. “Coach is giving me an opportunity. I’m getting in. There are guys on our team that aren’t getting in and if they are, they’re getting in for one minute, two minutes. Coach is giving me an opportunity. Whether it is 10 minutes, 20 minutes, I’ve just got to make a difference.”
While Winslow did come off the bench versus the Nets, he played for large swaths of the game and finished with 10 points, five rebounds and three assists in 30 minutes of playing time. Though he shot just 3-of-12 from the field and 1-of-5 from deep, he was able to hit two clutch free throws to give Miami a three-point lead with 11.3 seconds left in the game.
Following the game, Winslow was incredibly grateful that Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra left him in down the stretch. However, he admitted that he knows it’s his play that led to that decision.
“Nights like tonight are about making (Coach) play me, making him leave me in,” Winslow said. “These guys believe in me and want me to be successful. That definitely helps.”
So far this season, one of Miami’s biggest strengths has been its rotation depth. With players like Winslow, Goran Dragic and Tyler Herro currently coming off the bench, an argument could be made that Miami is truly one of the deepest teams in the NBA.
Whether or not Winslow makes his way back to the Heat’s starting lineup remains to be seen. What seems quite clear, however, is that he’s going to make the most out of his opportunities on the court whenever they present themselves.