Being an NBA scout is extremely hard work.
Players can be dominant in college tournaments and then completely stink it up after being drafted into the NBA, or conversely, players are not given the opportunity in college or overseas, but exceed expectations when they join the association. It’s up to scouts to predict which ones exceed expectations, and when they get it wrong, they get it very wrong.
We’ve already covered some of the worst NBA draft comparisons of all-time here at Fadeaway World, but one that didn’t make the list was Miami Heat forward Justice Winslow’s comparison.
Winslow was drafted with the 10th pick by the Heat back in 2015, and many picked him to be a dark horse for Rookie of the Year honors after his career at Duke University. Winslow was touted as one of the best perimeter defenders in the draft, as well as being a capable scorer, holding averages of 12.6 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals a game during his one season at Duke, a stacked team which went all the way to win the National Championship with other names such as Jahil Okafor and Tyus Jones.
One site in particular though — NBADraft.net, who we mentioned in the previous “Worst draft comparisons of all-time list” — ranked Winslow very highly, so highly in fact, they compared him to NBA All-Star and MVP candidate James Harden.
Here’s what NBADraft.net had to say about Winslow’s skillset:
“…Big time athlete with elite level speed and athleticism … Shows the ability to score in a variety of ways, with spot up shooting as well as scoring off the dribble … Can finish at the rim with highlight dunks, and does a good job of utilizing his great body strength to absorb contact … Very dangerous in the open floor with his speed and leaping ability … Tremendous basketball body with solid wingspan and great body strength considering his age … One of those rare kids that had an NBA ready body coming out of high school … Lefty shooter with nice touch … Has knocked down the college 3 ball at a good clip and with steady volume (39% with 1.4 makes per game) … Excellent on ball defender showing great lateral speed and awareness as well as a high effort level. Even blocks some shots, making use of his great quickness and timing…”
Granted, Justice has only been in the NBA for two and bit seasons, but he is nowhere near the level of James Harden-like production just yet.
So far through his career, Winslow holds career averages of 7.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.0 steal per game in 29.1 minutes per contest. Compared to Harden’s first three years — who played in fewer minutes off the bench in OKC and averaged more points, assists and steals per game — the Harden comparison may have been a little bit off.
Still, Winslow is only 21 years of age, and has an entire career ahead of him. Much like Harden, maybe what Justice needs to become an All-Star caliber player is just a change in situation. Even though The Beard was the Sixth Man of the Year in Oklahoma City, it wasn’t until the trade that sent him to Houston when Harden became one of the best players in the league.