Dwyane Wade: ‘We’re Going to Go as Far as [Our Young Core] Takes Us’

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The Miami Heat are currently focused on simply trying to make the playoffs, with a mix of veterans and younger players making that effort.

Justise Winslow is one of those in the latter category and is enthusiastic about the group pushing the collective limits of its still-developing talents down the stretch.

Though the pressure of a playoff run can often be intimidating to young players, the 22-year-old Winslow is someone who’s embracing the challenge:

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“As young guys, we just want to put our best foot forward. We want to see how good we really are and how we match up. Then you go back in the offseason and you work on your game. But right now, we’re just trying to see how we stack up. We’re leaving it all out there and it feels good to grow together.”

The Heat’s leader in Dwyane Wade also spoke on what it would mean for the Heat’s young core to advance to the postseason.

“We’re going to go as far as they take us,” Wade said. “When Justise and Josh play good, we got a chance to beat anyone. We understand their importance.”

Other youthful Heat players besides Winslow include Josh Richardson, Derrick Jones Jr. and Bam Adebayo. Jones is likely the most unheralded of the quartet, but Winslow is eager to include him in the mix, while extolling the virtues of the other two players:

“I would like to even add D. Jones to that young core group. He’s been spectacular for us all year, with just his versatility being able to guard multiple guys. A guy like Bam, just his presence and his athleticism jumps out at you. His skill work has come a long way and just his IQ for the game. J-Rich, he just keeps evolving every year. You’ve seen him step up his offensive game and his defense is always there. We’re going to continue to grow.”

Of the four players, Winslow has taken one of the biggest steps forward by showing promise at the point guard slot in place of the injured Goran Dragic. He’s averaging career-highs in several categories this season: 12.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists.

Winslow and the Heat are currently in a dogfight for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and have the same record as the Charlotte Hornets. Every one of the final 19 games on the regular season schedule is important, but Wednesday night’s game in Charlotte will break that deadlock and could serve as a momentum-builder over the remainder of the campaign.
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Brad Sullivan is a freelance writer for HeatNation.com, having been an avid fan of NBA basketball for more than four decades. During that time, he's watched the Heat evolve from gestation period to expansion team all the way to three-time NBA champions. He'll follow their quest toward again reaching those lofty heights, and do so by offering some perspective along the way.