Justise Winslow

Southwest Notes: Winslow, Spurs, Van Gundy, Finney-Smith

Justise Winslow was thrilled to be back on the court Saturday night, making his debut for the Grizzlies and playing for the first time since January 8, 2020. Although he started slowly, missing his first nine shots from the field, Winslow got more comfortable as the game went on and finished with nine points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes.

“I’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time,” Winslow said (video link from the Memphis Commercial Appeal). “I was excited, a lot of nerves, to be honest, but just being out there competing was a lot of fun. In the first half, I was just trying to get that first bucket, you know, a little excited. But once I settled down, settled into my game, I felt pretty comfortable out there. But a lot of praise to this organization, helped me get back out there, and my teammates. They kept me very confident while I was out there playing.”

Winslow was sidelined with a hip injury when Memphis acquired him at last year’s trade deadline. The pandemic prevented his projected return in March, and he suffered a left hip displacement during the summer that he’s just recovering from.

Looking ahead, Winslow could be a valuable contributor to the Grizzlies’ reserve unit as a shot creator, slasher and perimeter defender, notes Evan Barnes of The Commercial Appeal.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • With the Spurs in the middle of an unexpected break due to COVID-19, Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News talks to other coaches who have guided their teams through the same experience. San Antonio hasn’t played in a week after four players tested positive for the virus. The team is set to resume its season Wednesday at Oklahoma City if enough players are available. “It’s as mentally challenging as anything I’ve ever had to deal with,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “… There’s nothing I can take from a past experience or even another coach’s past experience to be able to navigate through it. It’s something nobody has had to do.”
  • Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy doesn’t believe youth should be an excuse for a fourth-quarter meltdown Friday against Phoenix, according to Scott Kushner of NOLA.com. New Orleans was outscored 41-12 as a big lead slipped away. “A lot of teams in this league have quarters like that,” Van Gundy said. “I’ll never throw the young card out there. We’re a basketball team with really talented people, and we didn’t get the job done in the fourth quarter.”
  • Getting back on the court after a week-long break will be a relief for Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith, writes Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. After testing positive for COVID-19 and spending two weeks in a Denver hotel last month, Finney was among the many who lost power this week amid freezing conditions in Texas.

Winslow To Make Grizzlies Debut Saturday

6:42pm: Winslow will be active for tonight’s game, the Grizzlies announced (via Twitter).


2:38pm: More than a year ago after being traded to the Grizzlies, Justise Winslow could make his Memphis debut on Saturday.

Winslow is listed as questionable against Phoenix on Saturday by the team’s PR department (Twitter link).

Winslow was part of the package the Grizzlies received from the Heat for Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder last February.

Winslow hasn’t played since last January 8, initially due to a hip injury. He was expected to return in March but the pandemic delayed his debut.

During the summer restart in Orlando, Winslow suffered a left hip displacement. He has been rehabbing from that injury during the first 25 games this season.

Winslow, the 10th pick of the 2015 draft, needs to reestablish himself, since he could be an unrestricted free agent this summer. The team holds a $13MM option on his contract for next season.

Coach Taylor Jenkins may not have much choice but to use him, since Kyle Anderson, Grayson Allen and Brandon Clarke are being rested in the second part of a back-to-back while starting shooting guard Dillon Brooks is sidelined by a right thigh injury. Anderson has emerged as the team’s starting power forward with Winslow sidelined.

Winslow, 24, has averaged 9.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG and 2.7 APG in 241 career games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Southwest Notes: Oladipo, Wood, Mavs, K. Anderson

After having their Friday and Saturday games postponed due to the government shutdown of the Toyota Center and the ongoing weather-related issues in Texas, the Rockets aren’t a sure thing to host the Bulls in Houston on Monday. But if that game is played as scheduled, the team is hoping Victor Oladipo can be available for it, sources tell Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Oladipo hasn’t played since February 11 due to a right foot strain, with the team’s losing streak extending to seven games during that time. However, if the Rockets play on Monday and the two-time All-Star is able to return, he’ll have only missed three games while resting the injury for 10 days.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Rockets big man Christian Wood (ankle sprain) isn’t as close to returning as Oladipo is, but he posted a message on Instagram on Thursday indicating that he’s aiming to get back on the court before the All-Star break, as Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston relays (via Twitter).
  • Appearing on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said he doesn’t view a big man who can rebound as a pressing trade deadline need, but added that he’ll leave that decision up to the front office (Twitter link via Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News). You know Mark (Cuban) and Donnie (Nelson),” Carlisle said. “These guys are gunslingers. They’re riverboat gamblers, and they’re ready to talk about anything that would get the team better.”
  • When the Grizzlies acquired Justise Winslow a year ago, he seemed destined to supplant Kyle Anderson as the team’s small forward of the future. However, Winslow has yet to make his debut in Memphis and remains a major question mark, opening the door for Anderson to reclaim that role, as Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian writes.

Southwest Notes: Green, Tate, Rockets, Grizzlies

The Mavericks announced today (via Twitter) that they are sending rookie shooting guard Josh Green to join the Salt Lake City Stars, the G League affiliate of the Jazz, in the NBAGL’s ongoing Orlando “bubble” campus.

Dallas’s own G League affiliate, the Texas Legends, is not participating in this year’s G League season. Green started in five games for the Mavericks earlier this season, but has been riding the bench recently. He is averaging 12.5 MPG across 17 contests.

There’s more out of the Southwest:

  • Rookie Rockets forward Jae’Sean Tate has proven to be Houston’s iron man this season, the only player to suit up for every game after P.J. Tucker sat with a bruised thigh, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Tate has been an important element of the Rockets’ frontcourt given the recent injuries to Christian Wood, Tucker, and Ray Spalding.
  • Long-injured young Grizzlies players Jaren Jackson Jr. and Justise Winslow have joined their teammates in portions of practice, according to Evan Barnes of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Jackson is recovering from a torn left meniscus and Winslow is working his way back from a left hip displacement.
  • Despite severe winter weather in Texas, the Rockets still intend to return to Houston ahead of their scheduled contests on Friday (against the Mavericks) and Saturday (against the Pacers), according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. There is a chance these games are ultimately postponed as a result of continuing water and power trouble in Texas, Feigen notes. “If playing basketball games makes sense we will,” head coach Stephen Silas said about the situation. “If it doesn’t, Houstonians are most important and the thing that we should all be thinking about as we go home.”

Southeast Notes: Brown Jr., Rozier, Winslow, Vucevic

Wizards forward Troy Brown Jr. described his experience with COVID-19 on Sunday, giving a behind-the-scenes look on the subject – including Washington’s recent outbreak – in an article for BasketballNews.com.

The Wizards had nine players in the NBA’s health and safety protocols at one point last month, with half of its roster contracting the virus. Brown provided valuable perspective into what it was like for him and his teammates as they made it through an unprecedented situation.

“When they told me that I tested positive, I wasn’t surprised,” Brown wrote in his story. “I had already started quarantining, so it wasn’t a shock; the positive test just confirmed my suspicions. I’ve taken COVID very seriously and been very safe since this all started, but I still got it. When I got the news, I wasn’t too scared. I don’t know if I’ll have any long-term issues that are related to COVID, but I try not to worry about that since it’s out of my control. My mindset is this: It happened and I can’t do anything about it, so I’m just trying to stay as positive as I can, live day-by-day and not worry.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer examines how Terry Rozier might be affected if LaMelo Ball continues to start for the Hornets. Ball started in his third game on Sunday, finishing with 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists to help defeat the Wizards.
  • Just one year after being traded to Memphis, Justise Winslow‘s health issues have made it difficult to judge the deal that sent him from the Heat to the Grizzlies, Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel writes. Winslow has yet to appear in a game for his new team and is currently dealing with a hip injury.
  • The Magic are hoping that Nikola Vucevic is rewarded with an All-Star spot this season, Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel writes. “I think every person on the team is rooting for him to be an All-Star,” teammate Cole Anthony said. “I think 100%, he deserves it.” Vucevic has averaged a career-high 23.1 points per game in 24 contests, also averaging 11.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists per contest. His 42% shooting mark from 3-point range is the highest of his career.

Southwest Notes: Winslow, JJJ, Aldridge, DeRozan, Rockets

Justise Winslow, who has yet to appear in a game for the Grizzlies since being acquired nearly a year ago at the 2020 trade deadline, hopes to return to the court later this month, he said on Monday. As Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal writes, Memphis’ lengthy hiatus due to contact tracing in January set Winslow back slightly due to a lack of practice opportunities, but he’s getting close.

“I’m feeling great, my hip feels great. I’m really close to getting back on the court, hopefully sometime this month,” the Grizzlies forward said. “I really don’t have an exact day in mind. Just with COVID and how our team had to miss almost a week of practice and that sort of thing, that set me back, just without being able to have proper access to workouts and things like that.”

Meanwhile, Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. will have his rehab process ramped up in the coming weeks as he looks to return from meniscus surgery, as Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian reports (via Twitter). Herrington doesn’t anticipate Jackson will return to action before the first half ends on March 4, but there’s no set timeline yet for the 21-year-old’s season debut (Twitter link).

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • People around the NBA are curious to see what the Spurs will do with veterans LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan, who are both on expiring contracts, writes Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Aldridge’s value is “declining quickly,” according to O’Connor, who believes that DeRozan might be the best player on the trade market if San Antonio were to make him available.
  • Within the same story, O’Connor notes that some executives around the NBA are wondering if the Rockets could end up being a buyer – rather than a seller – at the trade deadline. O’Connor expects teams to call about Victor Oladipo and P.J. Tucker, who will both be free agents this summer, but suggests Houston shouldn’t feel any pressure to make a deal. The club could entertain any favorable opportunities that arise, whether that means buying or selling, O’Connor adds.
  • The Rockets got back to .500 on Saturday night by winning their fifth consecutive game, prompting head coach Stephen Silas to express that his club is “moving in the right direction for sure.” Kelly Iko of The Athletic has the story on Houston’s recent hot streak, as well as Oladipo’s comfort level, Christian Wood‘s All-Star case, and the team’s strong depth.

Southwest Notes: Griffin, Ball, Jackson Jr., Winslow, Doncic

Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin discussed the trade rumors surrounding his team, explaining in an appearance on ESPN Radio how he addresses them with players.

New Orleans has opened the season with a disappointing 6-10 record, prompting multiple teams to reportedly inquire on the availability of Lonzo Ball and J.J. Redick.

“The truth is when you’re 6-10 and struggling to finish off games and disappointed in your results, teams are going to recognize that and they are going to show interest in the players they covet,” Griffin said as part of a larger quote, as relayed by ESPN’s Andrew Lopez (Twitter link).

In addition to Ball and Redick, New Orleans could also receive interest on veteran point guard Eric Bledsoe in the coming weeks. The NBA’s trade deadline falls on March 25 this season.

Here are some other notes from the Southwest Division:

  • Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype examines five potential trade destinations for Ball, listing teams such as the Knicks and Clippers as possible suitors if the Pelicans choose to move him. Ball has appeared in 13 games this season, averaging 11.8 points on 39% shooting from the floor and 30% shooting from deep.
  • It remains unclear when Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson Jr. and forward Justise Winslow will return, Evan Barnes of the Memphis Commerical Appeal writes. No specific timetables have been issued on Jackson, who is recovering from a torn meniscus, or Winslow, who is rehabbing a hip injury. “I think from a plan and rehab and recovery and return to play standpoint, everyone’s been doing a great job,” head coach Taylor Jenkins said. “We’ve got a lot of confidence that these guys will be back soon and be in a great spot health-wise, too.”
  • Tim MacMahon of ESPN explores the rise of the Mavericks‘ Luka Doncic, one that happened sooner than most people expected. Doncic has cemented himself as a superstar at the young age of 21, averaging 27.4 points, 9.4 rebounds and 9.7 assists in 17 games this season.

Southwest Notes: Porzingis, Jackson Jr., Winslow, Metu

There’s no timetable for Kristaps Porzingis to return to action following knee surgery, but he’s optimistic about his recovery, tweets Dwain Price of Mavs.com. Porzingis underwent a procedure in October to repair the meniscus in his right knee and won’t be available when the season starts.

“The only thing I know is that I’m recovering well, and that’s the most important thing,” he said. “We’ll see. I would like to start as soon as possible and I’m doing all the things necessary to do that.”

Porzingis hurt his knee in the first game of Dallas’ playoff series against the Clippers and played two more games with the injury. The Mavericks hope he will be cleared to resume on-court activities by January 1.

“I think I’m pretty close to being able to get some shots up,” Porzingis said. “We’re just taking it easy, we’re taking our time, but I’m pretty much there and I can’t wait to start doing more stuff. But I have to be smart, I have to be patient.” (Twitter link)

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Mavericks tried to get a higher pick in the first round of last night’s draft, but weren’t able to work out a deal, tweets Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. General manager Donnie Nelson said the team also had opportunities to move down, but didn’t want to pass up Josh Green with the 18th pick.
  • The Grizzlies will have to start the new season without  Jaren Jackson Jr. and Justise Winslow, writes Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Executive VP of basketball operations Zach Kleiman confirmed that both players aren’t fully recovered from injuries that sidelined them last season. Winslow, who had an injured hip, is expected back before Jackson, who underwent knee surgery in August. “I would say that Justise is going to return early this season. It might not be day one, but no setbacks,” Kleiman said. “He’s been in our facility in Memphis, working out twice a day, doing an awesome job in his rehab and we’ll be excited to have him early in the season.”
  • Spurs center Chimezie Metu has changed agents, signing with Wasserman’s Darren Matsubara, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

Southwest Notes: Mbah A Moute, Burke, Mavs, Winslow

Another Rockets veteran has reported to the NBA’s campus, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link), who hears from a source that forward Luc Mbah a Moute arrived in Orlando on Wednesday.

James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Mbah a Moute didn’t initially travel with the Rockets to Orlando, but Harden and Westbrook have since arrived and started practicing with the club. Mbah a Moute will have to go through a brief quarantine period and return a pair of negative COVID-19 tests, but after that, Houston should be at relatively full strength.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

Grizzlies’ Winslow Out For Season With Hip Injury

Grizzlies forward Justise Winslow, acquired from the Heat at the trade deadline, won’t get a chance to make his debut with his new team this summer after all. According to a press release, Winslow fell during an intra-squad scrimmage on Monday and injured his hip. The injury will force him to miss the rest of the season, per the club.

It’s a tough break for the Grizzlies and for Winslow, who had already missed the majority of the 2019/20 season due to a back injury. The 24-year-old appeared in just 11 games for Miami before being shut down, and had yet to suit up for Memphis.

Winslow averaged 12.6 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 4.3 APG with a .433/.375/.628 shooting line in 66 games (29.7 MPG) in 2018/19, showing impressive versatility on both ends of the court and taking on primary ball-handling duties at times.

Winslow was the centerpiece of the deadline deal that saw the Grizzlies take on Dion Waiters‘ and Gorgui Dieng‘s pricey multiyear contracts and send Andre Iguodala to Miami. The hope was that the young swingman would emerge as a long-term building block on an up-and-coming Memphis squad led by Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. If that’s going to happen, it’ll have to start in 2020/21 — Winslow has a $13MM salary next season, with a $13MM team option for ’21/22.

Although the Grizzlies got some bad news on Winslow, the club’s roster as a whole should still be healthier than it was in March before the season was suspended. Jackson and Brandon Clarke are on track to return from injuries of their own, so Winslow’s absence won’t create a major hole in coach Taylor Jenkins‘ rotation.

The Grizzlies have a 3.5-game cushion for the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference, but holding onto that final playoff berth won’t be easy. Memphis has one of the summer’s most challenging eight-game schedules, which concludes with games against the Jazz, Thunder, Raptors, Celtics, and Bucks.

Before that, the Grizzlies will have to face the Trail Blazers, Spurs, and Pelicans, three teams chasing them for the No. 8 seed. The Kings and – to a lesser extent – the Suns are also in the running.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.