#NekPls Mailbag: Winslow’s Role, McGruder’s Relationship Status, Duck-Sized Giancarlos

Commentary3 years ago5 min readNekias Duncan

Welcome to the first edition of the #NekPls Mailbag! I’ll be picking seven of the best/weirdest/funniest questions that Heat and NBA Twitter has to offer and answering them here, every Friday. If you have questions, shoot them to me (@NekiasNBA) or the Miami Heat Beat account (@miaheatbeat) and tag them with the hashtag #NekPls for your chance to be featured.

Q: If [Justise] Winslow comes back looking AT LEAST as good as he did in the playoffs last year, will that put him ahead of TJ [Tyler Johnson] in the rotation? If so, where will that actually leave TJ in the rotation? Not like you can’t play someone you are paying 20 million dollars. #NekPls

ND: Honestly, I think he’d be in serious danger of losing some time. Though Winslow and Johnson obviously play different positions, the Heat have gone with a lot of three-guard combos so far this year.

With the way Rodney McGruder has played this year, he can’t lose minutes. Dwyane Wade is guaranteed time. Wayne Ellington should be back soon. They’re all going to need time at the 2.

Winslow will soak up minutes at the 3, even if he operates as a bit of a point-forward. If Johnson doesn’t regain his shooting stroke soon, there may not be much reason to carve out consistent minutes for him.

Q: How does the wing rotation shake out when everyone is healthy? #NekPls

ND: Well, there are 96 minutes to spread out between the 2 and the 3, and the Heat have seven players that could potentially log minutes there. I don’t expect Dion Waiters to play. Frankly, I think his time in Miami is done. So with that being the case, maybe something like:

Josh Richardson: 32 minutes

Rodney McGruder: 20 minutes

Dwyane Wade: 12 minutes (he’ll likely see most of his time at back-up point)

Wayne Ellington: 14 minutes

Tyler Johnson: 10 minutes (spot minutes at back-up point)

Justise Winslow: 8 minutes (he’ll likely see most of his time at the 4, sigh)

Derrick Jones, Jr.: “Break-Glass-in-Case-of-Emergency”

I’m just not as high on Jones Jr. as others are, even if the athleticism is out of this world. He still needs to learn how to play basketball. In a perfect world, he’d be guaranteed 14-to-18 minutes a night where he can learn, but Miami has a lot of people they need to appease. I think he’s gonna fall by the wayside.

Q: Is Rodney McGruder single? #NekPls

ND: If he is, he won’t be for long with the way he’s played. Shoot your shot while you can.

Q: Do you prefer getting rid of/letting big contracts expire and go full youth movement or make a push for Jimmy [Butler] (moving young pieces/draft picks) and try to make space for 2019 free agency?

ND: Honestly, I’m okay with just letting the big contracts expire and making a splash a couple of summers from now. Give Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow, and Bam Adebayo as many reps as possible and see what you have in them. That isn’t an exciting answer, but Miami isn’t close to contending yet. I’m not a fan of them emptying the clip when it wouldn’t even guarantee a ticket out of the East, much less a chance in the Finals.

To clarify, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t go after Jimmy Butler. I’ve consistently said that if they can snag him while only giving up one of their young three, that’s a risk worth taking. He may not be the star that puts them above Boston or Toronto, but he’s the star that can help attract the next star that could put Miami in that class. They just need to be smart.

Q: How valid are the HOU-MIN trade rumors, and depending on that, does this bring Miami back to the table (with a reasonable offer)?

ND: I don’t think that’s a great trade for Minnesota — garbage plus three, possibly four late first-round picks doesn’t help them much in the short- or long-term in my opinion. It does appear that Miami is sniffing around again. Any semblance of a bidding war helps Minnesota, so I’m sure they’re pleased, even if they aren’t close on a deal as of me typing this.

Q: J-Rich > [Andrew] Wiggins?

ND: Absolutely, though to be a little fair to Wiggins, we haven’t really seen him this year. Still, Richardson is miles better defensively, is a better shooter, and passer, and … well, he at least gives a crap.

Q: Would you rather fight 10 duck-sized Giancarlo Navases or 1 Giancarlo Navas-sized duck?

ND: I, well.


The boss has lost quite a bit of weight (congrats!), but I’m not trying to fight a 5-f00t-10 duck. I’ll take my chances with the 10 duck-sized Gs. If nothing else, I can run in a library, find a dictionary, and wield them off. Easy money, really.