Our 213 Hoops Roundtable discussion on the Clippers’ offseason continues with the signing of veteran wing Justise Winslow.
Ralston Dacanay: B+
This signing was a low-risk, semi-high reward play in my eyes. I’ve never really had much of an opinion on Justise Winslow’s game over the years, but seeing how this Clippers environment has been able to revitalize a lot of players’ careers over the years (e.g. Austin Rivers, Lou Williams, Reggie Jackson, Nicolas Batum), I do have some irrational confidence about him being an effective player for LAC. There were some other wings I would’ve liked to see the Clippers nab (e.g. Otto Porter Jr., Torrey Craig, Rudy Gay, Solomon Hill, Rodney Hood, and James Ennis III (Go Beach!)), but Winslow no doubt was a pickup worth part of the TPMLE. I am really curious to see how he fits, because as reported by The Athletic’s Law Murray, LAC reportedly views him as a four, which would put him behind Marcus Morris Sr. and Nicolas Batum.
Joey Linn: B-
As I’m sure most people understand by now, this was a low risk move with the potential for upside. In the 2018-19 season, the last time Winslow played at least 60 games, he averaged 12.6 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 4.3 APG on 37.5% from deep. The year prior, in which Winslow played 68 games, he shot 38% from deep. While he has battled injuries over the last two seasons, causing his offensive numbers to plummet, the Clippers will be talking a chance on Winslow in hopes he can revive his career in a similar way that Nicolas Batum did. For a team that was shallow on wing depth, Winslow was one of the best remaining options to fill out the roster. If he is healthy, he should help the team.
Shapan Debnath: B
With what was left, Winslow at 8M for 2 years with a bunch of health qualifiers for that second year is perfectly fine. Sure, DDR would’ve been nice, hell even Otto Porter Jr., but DDR was unrealistic and I think the season-long potential nature of Kawhi’s injury took us out of the running for guys like Porter Jr. or Patty Mills. LAC has to bank on their ability to revamp a player loaded with potential, like they did last year with Nico and Reggie.
Lucas Hann: C+
I fully understand the rationale for a gamble on Justise, given how good he was in those two years where he managed to stay healthy in Miami. But he hasn’t sniffed being an NBA-caliber player for two full years, and hip replacement surgery is an even harder reclamation arc for me to get behind than typical basketball injuries. Still, the downside is pretty low at 4M/year, and the upside is getting a guy who could play at a 12-15M level, which is huge.
I bumped this from a C to a C+ because I like some of the details here: LAC got him for 1.9M less than the taxpayer MLE, which allowed them to give both of their 2nd round picks 3-year deals instead of the standard rookie minimum 2, enhancing team control over a couple of other guys. I also like that the 2nd year is guaranteed; often, with reclamation projects, a cheap deal is accepted in exchange for a player option in the second year. By locking Justise in for 2, the Clippers actually get to enjoy the upside if he pans out, both by keeping him for the 2022-23 season but also by having his early bird rights in summer 2023 to give him a deal like Reggie Jackson’s instead of one like Nicolas Batum’s. If Justise is gonna be the guy, the Clippers did everything right and got a nice deal–but I have to stay at C+ because I think there’s a decent likelihood he doesn’t bounce back and we wind up watching a Clippers team next year that could really, really use another solid rotation wing like James Ennis, who could have definitely been gotten at this price point.
Robert Flom: C
At his peak a couple years ago, Justise Winslow was an approximately replacement level (maybe slightly better) wing who was a plus on defense and a minus on offense. In the two years since, he’s been unplayable on offense and just average on defense. While the sample size in games played over those two years is small, his hip replacement injury is a tough one to bounce back from, even at Winslow’s comparatively young age. In short, I think the upside is that he’s a perfectly competent 10-15 minute per game 10th man, and the downside is he’s unplayably bad. For a deal somewhat above the minimum, that’s not an awful deal, but it’s not really a good one either, which results in the definition of an average, “C” grade. In a vacuum, similarly, there were guys I’d prefer over Winslow, but he wasn’t the worst option either. Meh.
Cole Huff: B-
When analyzing our favorite teams we naturally tend to take an optimistic approach. We overlook flaws in players and instead talk up their strengths to convince ourselves we’ll get the best version of that player, which is exactly how we’re treating this Justise Winslow addition. I think he has a real chance to be a solid rotational player here, but can’t overlook the fact that he’s hardly been an NBA player over the past couple of years (almost solely due to injuries). Because of that, he’s a bit of a wildcard. And that’s fine. Winslow’s role will likely begin as small, but not insignificant, with health and early-season repetitions being the determining factors of whether or not his role will evolve throughout the season. Only time will tell, but this should be a decent signing so long as Winslow stays healthy.
That about does it for our roundtable discussion of the Justise Winslow signing. Leave your thoughts on the Clippers’ signing of Winslow in the comments below!