A year after being limited to 18 games in a short-circuited second season and none after Dec. 30, Heat forward Justise Winslow on Monday pronounced himself healed from shoulder surgery and said everyone can expect a different, better version of the former No. 10 overall draft pick.
“I'm just excited because I know what this year is going to be for me and this team and it's something that people aren't really going to see coming,” Winslow said Monday on the eve of the start of Heat training camp at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. “When it hits them, when they see it mid-April, they will know it's for real.”
Asked if he cringes when people talk about his shooting problems, he had an interesting answer: “The way I see it in the basketball world and in general, God doesn't give everyone everything. But you can definitely work towards it. I don't have everything. I don't have part of my tooth. We are all missing things. We all have flaws.”
But, he adds, “Once that thing [shooting] gets figured out, you can't say there's much I can’t do. I can bring the ball. I can guard your best player. I can rebound. I can find my open shooters. I can push it on the break. Once that minor details gets settled out, we're going to have a fun time.”
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Winslow, who has shot 40 percent from the field and 25.8 percent on three-pointers in 96 career games, said he lost weight – he declined to say how much – and “I feel more explosive. I feel young again. I feel how a 21-year-old should feel. My mindset is if you always feel good, you've got nothing to fix.”
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is pleased to have back most of the team that went 30-11 in the second half.
“This is ultimately what everybody wanted,” he said. “I think we brought the most new guys into our team last year or roughly around there. Now we have the sixth-most guys bringing back. That is continuity that means something….
“It allows me to prepare for this training camp different than it was last year. It will be a little bit more practice setting than a training camp install of new philosophies to the majority of the team. Hopefully there will be some element of picking where we left off last year while continuing to evolve.”
• Spoelstra said “the question I’ve been getting, players have been getting all summer long” is whether this team is the one that went 11-30 in the first half or 30-11 in the second half or somewhere in between.
“Who knows?” Spoelstra said. “Our guys are in tremendous shape and are looking forward to getting this thing kicked off.”
• Spoelstra said when free-agent addition Kelly Olynyk played for Boston, “we couldn't stop him. He made us look silly. He had us running around in circles for years. When guys played really well against us and give us problems, we want to get those guys.
“Once we researched him, you could see why a lot of teams wanted him and why Boston valued him so much and why we think he'll fit in with us so well. He's supremely skilled. He was a former guard growing up. He plays the game unselfishly. He likes to make the game easier for other players and he fits with our personnel.”
• Goran Dragic said he feels fine and sufficiently rested after leading Slovenia to its first European basketball championship in September.
“I think Goran had the perfect summer you can have to prepare for an NBA season,” Spoelstra said. “There's no better way to prepare for an NBA season than to play. Dwyane Wade's best season was after playing with USA Basketball. Typically guys that play national team basketball have great years the next year. I’ll manage him in the preseason.
“I think he's ready for a big-time year. He played like an All-Star last year. I think he's an All-Star this year.”
• Rookie first-round forward/center Bam Adebayo said he feels "I can defend anybody that I put my mind to” – including every frontcourt position – and Spoestra said: “He has freakish athleticism, humility and a desire and a work ethic to match all of that. He did a lot of things that surprised us a little bit this summer. We wanted to find out if he could handle the ball and make some plays” and he displayed that in NBA Summer League.