The Toronto Raptors are no stranger to signing former top picks in the off chance they could get back to their old form in the franchise’s well-regarded developmental system. The next player to get this treatment is former Duke star Justise Winslow.
Winslow has been out of work for the last few months, as the second and third chances that many top picks are afforded were unable to produce any sort of long-term deal. He’s decided to go down to the G League, and Toronto was willing to take a flier on him.
The Raptors officially started the clock on Makur Maker’s G League tenure, waiving him to get him filed within the 905 ranks. In order to secure Winslow, some similar roster gymnastics will likely follow to secure his spot in Mississauga.
Winslow will head to the G League as he tries to give it one last shot to stick in the NBA. While the depth ahead of him could mean that Toronto is unwilling to give him a shot, Winslow fans will see the Raptors as a location that will prioritize players with his style of play.
Toronto Raptors sign Justise Winslow to Exhibit 10 contract.
Winslow was picked 10th overall in the 2015 NBA Draft by the Miami Heat, just one pick before Myles Turner and three before Devin Booker. While Winslow was a solid two-way player who could get to the basket, the combination of injuries and an inability to be a top-flight 3-point shooter is what did him in.
Winslow couldn’t restart his career with the Grizzlies after being sent to Memphis, though he did manage to impress the Portland Trail Blazers enough to get a semi-regular bench role over the last two seasons. Ultimately, he was deemed dead weight and let go.
No one has ever doubted that Winslow, a muscular 6-6 wing who can handle the ball, can be a unique defensive chess piece. Toronto is now the fifth team (he was with the Clippers for a brief minute) that will give Winslow the developmental runway to develop a semi-regular shot.
If nothing else, the Raptors can get some competition for two-way wing Ron Harper Jr. in the G League. In the ultimate best-case scenario, the Raptors could be the launching pad for an unlikely resurgence that helps Winslow breathe new life into his professional career.