Winslow’s Defense Is Above His Age Grade

Insight7 years ago2 min readJames Profetto

Writer’s note: Credit to NBAsavant.com for defensive statistics and the image used.


Justise Winslow is a 6’7”, 220-plus pound defender who’s already seen five NBA games and the likes of LeBron James, James Harden, Andrew Wiggins and Kyle Korver—four proven shooters and paint-penetrators.

Both James and Korver shot a perfect 3-for-3 against him.

But what’s incredibly telling are his performances against Harden and last year’s Rookie of the Year Wiggins, and the statistics that may not be etched onto the sheet of a box score.

The rookie went one-on-one defensively and made the bearded three-point wizard miss six shots.

In the Heat’s dazzling second half against an at the time ailing Houston Rockets team on Nov. 1, Winslow contributed to the Heat by holding Harden to 1-of-7 on 14-percent shooting.

The rookie went one-on-one defensively and made the bearded three-point wizard miss six shots.

When matched with Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins he held him to 0-for-5 shooting—the same Wiggins that shot 43-percent from the field in 2014 and averaged 16 points per game, according to ESPN.com.

This is really no shock to anyone who’s watched him play defense at Duke. He’s a tall, physical defender who gallops alongside and in front of the best offensive players on the court at any moment.

But his physicality doesn’t mean he can’t spread outside to the perimeter and contest shooters, though.

When sprinting towards the top of the three-point line, shooters are 1-of-13 (7.7-percent). On either wing, shooters are 2-of-3. Within four to five feet from the rim, they’re 1-for-7 from the field.

Justise Winslow

The kid is good, but no one said he’s perfect.

Whether it is fear of fouling, or adjusting to the NBA’s more vigorous style of play, 75-percent (6-of-8) of shots are made by opponents Winslow faces in the restricted area.

Maybe none of this matters.

Maybe Winslow’s small, four-game sample has a bad aftertaste once the season ends.

But he’s 19 years young and trending upwards. Who can be pessimistic about that?