Mailbag: Should Heat continue to count on Dion Waiters in clutch situations?

Miami Heat’s Dion Waiters reacts after theMiami Heat defeated the Indiana Pacers this season at AmericanAirlines Arena.(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The Miami Heat lost a heartbreaker in Denver on Friday, a game decided, literally, by less than an inch.

That’s how close Dion Waiter’s jumper at the buzzer came to dropping as it rattled in and fell out.

Waiters, and Justise Winslow, is the subject of our latest mailbag. If you weren’t able to ask a question, send them in for future mailbags via Twitter to @Anthony_Chiang and @tomdangelo44 or email me at tdangelo@pbpost.

From Bill, Sebring: Should the Heat continue to put the ball in Waiters’ hand in crunch time?

This is why Erik Spoelstra likes to say Waiters has “irrational confidence.” The uber-confident guard loves the spotlight and believes every shot he takes, whether with the game on the line or not, is going in.

Waiters had a decent look in Denver. His plan was to attack the rim but after losing control of the ball he had to give it up to Josh Richardson and when he got it back he had no time to drive. The 23-foot jumper was the best he could do under the circumstances and the shot was there, rattling in and out. I have no problem with Waiters taking crucial shots. He proved last season he could make them with a game winner against Golden State and big time 3 pointers at Brooklyn and Cleveland. I like a guy who wants the ball in hands in pressure situations.

Now, could it have been different if James Johnson had not fouled out with 11 seconds to play? Remember, last season, when Waiters was out with his ankle injury, Johnson became Spoelstra’s choice to handle the ball and make a play with the game in the balance. We saw it in Detroit (he missed the jumper but Hassan Whiteside’s put back was the game winner) and in Washington (he made the basket when he took it to the rim).

Spoelstra might have asked Johnson to try to win the game in the finals second Friday had he been on the floor. But I think the coach likes having at least two players who have shown they will not back down when the pressure rises. And I say at least two because I also would like to see Goran Dragic take a big shot. The nine-year NBA veteran has shown, especially playing internationally, he is not affected by the pressure.

From @MResto6: Does Miami regret drafting Winslow over Booker?

In 2015, the Heat took forward Justise Winslow out of Duke with the 10th overall pick. Three picks later, Phoenix selected Kentucky shooting guard Devin Booker.

To date, Booker has had the much more distinguished career as both are in their third year. He is averaging 18.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.1 assists while shooting 42.6 percent. Included is a stunning 70-point game in Boston last season. Booker has the second highest average of the entire draft class behind No. 1 pick Karl-Anthony Towns, also from Kentucky. Winslow, meanwhile, is averaging 7.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists and continues to struggle with his outside shot, shooting 40.7 percent from the field and just 25.8 percent on 3 pointers. Winslow played just 18 games last season because of wrist and shoulder injuries.

I do not blame the Heat for continuing to bolster Winslow by emphasizing his all-around game, which includes being a versatile, solid defender. But, look at the numbers and it’s hard to say Winslow was the better choice.

[Heat coach Erik Spoelstra on James Johnson: ‘We’ll ride with him’]

[Wade calls final year of Big 3 in Miami a “bad marriage.” Says he came to Cavs to be part of solution, not problem]

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