Jamaal Wilkes Rumors
As a member of the Heat’s summer league team, Winslow played in three games and averaged 16.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists. But he still struggled to make shots from beyond the arc, hitting 23.5 percent of his 3-point shots. “It’s time,” Riley said of Winslow. “I remember when James Worthy came to the Lakers and Jamaal Wilkes was the incumbent and then there came that time, there came that time when it was just a matter of time when James Worthy was going to take his position. Are we ready for Justise Winslow to start at the three? I am. I’m not just throwing him out there. This guy has been thrown out there last year and played significant minutes and significant time. I trust him. So you guys put too much on the things that he can’t do versus what he can. And those things that he can’t do, he’s going to be able to do better with more minutes.”
Wilkes played with Bill Walton in college, then won championships with the Rick Barry Warriors and, more famously, the “Showtime” Lakers. And almost 30 years after wrapping up his career, he takes a look at the NBA franchise that defined him and sees Kobe Bryant in a familiar position: getting old. But these Lakers don’t have Worthy waiting in the wings. “It’s very different,” Wilkes told Sporting News. “He has very little help, and I’m sure he feels like it’s all on him because it has been for the last 18, 19 years. And I’m sure he doesn’t know what to expect from himself or what his body can give him now. But it’s clear that he’s near the end. He’s in the last year of his contract. But physically, he just can’t carry the group more.
“Personally, I’d like to see his minutes cut where he could play the majority of the fourth quarter. But that’s going to be hard for Coach Scott because, Kobe, you think you want Kobe out there all the time. But I think they’ve learned that he just can’t do it all anymore.” This season might be rough, even if Bryant stays healthy. But Wilkes, formerly known as Keith Wilkes, is optimistic. “With the current draft coming up and the picks they have and the cap space they have and with Mitch Kupchak being there in the driver’s seat alongside Jim Buss, I expect to see serious improvement next season, which to me means competing for the playoffs,” he said.