View Original Notice ? Clippers’ Justise Winslow meets former team, friends
LOS ANGELES — Is it still a Revenge Game if both parties still hold each other in sky-high regard?
Because Justise Winslow really enjoyed his time in Memphis, short and painful as it was. And the Grizzlies seem very much to have appreciated him, too, even though he’s not in their camp anymore.
The former Duke standout’s arduous journey from Miami to Memphis to the Clippers this season has been rife with injuries, including the injury that required hip replacement surgery at a Memphis practice in 2020 ahead of the restart in the Orlando bubble.
Despite such a debilitating setback, the versatile, 6-foot-6 wing remembers his experience in Grind City fondly.
“Memphis was great,” Winslow, 25, said during training camp. “One of the best staffs I’ve been able to be a part of in my basketball career. Medical team was a great group of young guys, good energy, which helped me through my process, not being down, not feeling sorry for myself.
“It was just always fun. Guys always smiling, always joking. I needed that transition, going from Miami (in a trade) to a team like that, I feel like it helped me get to where I am today.”
His memories align with those of Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins.
“Our time with him was great,” Memphis’ third-year coach said before his squad met the Clippers on Saturday night at Staples Center.
“Obviously there were some challenging moments for him, he got traded, coming off an injury, finally got healthy and then we’re in the restart and he gets hurt again. Beyond that, he just had a positive attitude throughout all of that, and that’s what I loved about Justise, he brought a great spirit.
“And then when he played, just trying to find that rhythm. (He) never probably got to where he wanted to go, but he always put the work in, and that’s what I really just cherished about him.”
And Jenkins – still a big fan of the man – said a healthy Winslow will fit in well with the Clippers, with whom he signed a two-year, $8 million contract in free agency.
“He’s just got this great ability to make winning basketball happen,” Jenkins said. “Both sides of the floor, obviously fully healthy, his versatility on the defensive end, guarding multiple positions is something that he can bring every single night.
“He’s got great instincts and feel on the defensive end. And offensively, again, when he’s healthy, the foresight he plays with, obviously just watching what he’s done with the Clippers and playing different positions offensively, but when the ball’s in his hands, he can make a lot of things happen, whether that’s him attacking downhill, finishing with force, setting up his teammates.
“So when you got a guy who can be versatile on both sides of the floor – and looking at the Clippers, you got guys who are two-way players, and very versatile themselves – it’s just another guy who can make an impact on winning basketball.”
The Lakers got the league buzzing with some out-in-the-open chippiness between teammates during their loss to the Phoenix Suns on Friday night, when All-Star big man Anthony Davis and veteran center Dwight Howard got tangled on the bench.
Afterward, both players brushed off the incident, with Howard telling reporters: “We squashed it right then and there.” Concurred Davis: “It’s over with.”
On Saturday, Lakers guard Rajon Rondo – a Clipper at the end of last season – said (stuff) happens all the time.
That’s true, Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said when he was asked about it Saturday.
“I don’t want to speak on them, but I mean, any time you’re competing, you always wanna win, so it’s not a bad thing,” Lue said of the team down the Staples Center hallway. “It’s not like they’re not close or good friends. Sometimes in the heat of the battle, anything could happen.
“In my 23-24 years in the NBA, it’s common for that to happen. So most of the time you don’t want it to happen in public, but it happens and you just move on. So it’s not a big deal.”