So Mike Krzyzewski says that Miami Heat first-round pick Justise Winslow could be the next Dwyane Wade. That’s what the Duke legend told Jay Bilas anyway, and that’s a mouthful.
Everybody goes a little daft with the draft. Let’s just agree that nobody in this rookie class deserves to enter the league with that kind of pressure on him.
The No. 10 spot in the NBA draft isn’t supposed to produce Hall of Famers, NBA Finals MVP’s and other foundational franchise saviors. If it happens, great, but go leaping after that dream just because it makes you smile.
Winslow, I think, will be very good for the Heat. Pat Riley certainly thinks so. He talked about Winslow’s fall to No. 10 and likened it to the year that Caron Butler came to Miami at the same number and in the same way. Butler, a small forward like Winslow, had a strong rookie year, starting 78 games and averaging 15.4 points. Can’t ask for more than that.
The thing with Butler is he didn’t become an all-star until his fifth NBA season. He had already played for two other teams by then, the Lakers and the Wizards. Riley used him for trade bait after two Heat seasons, packaging the promising young pro in the deal that brought Shaquille O’Neal to Miami.
Winslow, we’re hoping, will be so productive that he sticks with the Heat for a long time, starts a lot of games and maybe even becomes part of a championship unit.
Riley doesn’t always see draft picks the way everybody else does, however. Unless it’s a star like Wade, he’s thinking about trading them for veteran help almost from the day the kids arrive.
Here’s another small caution. Guys get drafted at No. 10 for a reason, and the last four who did haven’t amounted to much at this point.
Four years ago it was Jimmer Fredette, the long-range fad of the NCAA tournament from BYU. He has started seven games in his career. Total.
Here are the numbers on the three most recent No. 10 picks. Prepare to be underwhelmed.
AUSTIN RIVERS, 2012 Draft
Yr. Starts Pts. Avg. Reb. Avg. Assists avg.
2012-13 26 6.2 1.8 2.1
2013-14 4 7.7 1.9 2.3
2014-15 5 7.0 2.0 2.0
C.J. McCOLLUM, 2013 Draft
Yr. Starts Pts. Avg. Reb. Avg. Assists Avg.
2013-14 0 5.3 1.3 0.7
2014-15 3 6.8 1.5 1.0
ELFRID PAYTON, 2014 Draft
Yr. Starts Pts. Avg. Reb Avg. Assists Avg.
2014-15 63 8.9 4.3 6.5
Payton, Orlando’s point guard for most of his rookie season, has been the best of them, but unless you’re a big-time NBA fan, you may not have heard of him.
Not to pile on Rivers, either, but he’s playing for his dad, Doc Rivers, head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, and still started just two of 41 regular-season games since coming over from New Orleans midseason.
Rivers was a one-and-done star at Duke, too, just like Winslow, if it matters.