(Originally posted at Upside & Motor)
Justise Winslow was by far the best athlete at the 2014 FIBA Americas U18. And, once more, he added to his already legendary resume in youth competitions.
The combination of his incredibly advanced physical profile for his age and his level of intensity makes him a dominant presence at the junior level, especially on defense. He maximizes the impact of his six-foot-six, 221-pound frame by playing with a lot of effort.
He did what was expected of him, which was nonetheless impressive. As usual, Winslow was tremendous defending on the ball, getting down in his stance and displaying lateral quickness to stay in front of the opponent. Off the ball, Winslow was active, utilizing his six-foot-10 wingspan to shut down passing lanes, ranking sixth in the tournament in steal percentage. Billy Donovan played him as a power forward some, and Winslow showed himself attentive to his responsibilities protecting the rim, ranking seventh in block percentage. He contributed on the boards, ranking second on the team in defensive rebounds. Team USA allowed just 66.5 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor, the second best defensive rating among players in the tournament, according to realGM.com.
It was a show, simply put; something you would expect from someone projected as a top 10 pick in the NBA draft against a low level of competition, but there is something to say about Winslow playing hard despite possessing physical dominance that would have helped him cruise through regardless of his effort.
Winslow isn’t as developed on offense at this point. He showed the potential for incredible versatility but did most of his scoring at the rim due his superior athletic ability for that level of competition. When Donovan played him as a power forward, Winslow looked like a natural screening and diving hard to the basket on pick-and-rolls, as smaller guards struggled navigating his wide body, and he was strong enough to finish through contact. He can leap off the ground in a pinch to play above the rim and worked hard on the glass, ranking in the top 20 in offensive rebounding rate.
But his impact on offense was limited (lowest offensive rating on Team USA) by his undeveloped jump-shot. He hit a pull-up here and there but isn’t a threat from the outside at this point. Winslow doesn’t elevate straight up and has no consistency on his release. As a result, he was not a willing shooter, taking just eight three-point attempts in his 96 minutes, often passing up good looks and putting the ball on the floor. He was also a lousy free-throw shooter, missing 11 of 18 foul shots. He doesn’t flex his elbow enough most times.
Winslow didn’t get to do much ball handling due to the presences of Tyus Jones, Jalen Brunson and Isaiah Briscoe, aside from ball dominant scoring guards Stanley Johnson and Allonzo Trier, but made some nice passes that suggest a high basketball IQ.
Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at Upside & Motor, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara.