5 things we learned from the 76ers’ dismantling of the Heat

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 24: Joel Embiid /
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MIAMI, FL – APRIL 19: Justise Winslow
MIAMI, FL – APRIL 19: Justise Winslow /

2. Start buying property on Justise Winslow Island

Through his first three NBA seasons, Justise Winslow hasn’t lived up to his predraft expectations. He averaged a paltry 6.4 points per game as a rookie, played only 18 games as a sophomore due to wrist and shoulder injuries, and he saw the floor for just 24.7 minutes per game during the 2017-18 regular season.

Against the 76ers, however, Winslow flashed the potential that made him such a tantalizing prospect a few years ago.

In Game 3, Winslow canned four first-half 3-pointers en route to 19 points, as the 76ers intentionally left him wide-open from deep and dared him to beat them. He was also lethal in transition throughout the series, averaging 1.36 points per possession on such plays to finish in the 86th percentile leaguewide.

On defense, Winslow relished in the physical style of play that would define the series.

“I love it,” he told reporters ahead of Game 3. “I’m a physical defender. I don’t like the ticky-tack fouls. I like getting into the ball and just being a beast on the ball defensively. So, I like how the refs are letting both teams play. I think that’s good for both sides.”

Winslow is eligible for an extension this summer, which puts the Heat in a tricky spot given their salary-cap constraints over the next few years. If he can build upon the progress he flashed during the final few months of the regular season and in the playoffs, though, the Duke product could yet prove to be a long-term piece worth building around.

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