Buckle up, Spartan fans. Get ready to take a look at Cassius Winston's first bucket since his senior campaign with Michigan State.
With the Wizards roster decimated by a COVID-19 outbreak, Winston is getting his first real NBA minutes tonight against the San Antonio Spurs. In the first quarter, the former Spartans point guard executed a move all too familiar to those who watched him in college. Coming off a screen at the top of the key, Winston pulled up and drilled an easy mid-range jumper.
Cassius Winston with his first NBA points pic.twitter.com/Fgynvvqn5A
— Hoop District (@Hoop_District) January 25, 2021
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Over his four-year tenure with Michigan State, Winston solidified himself as one of the top players in the game of college basketball. By the time he'd completed his senior year, the Spartan guard averaged 14.2 points and 6.4 assists and started in 108/139 games played. In his final year with the team, Winston shattered the previous Big Ten career assist record (816) with 870 dimes of his own.
While his success at the college level speaks for itself, many analysts had doubts for his future in the NBA. At 6-foot-1 and not overly athletic, Winston's frame certainly doesn't lend itself to success at the professional level.
Despite this, the former Big Ten Player of the Year was selected 53rd overall in the second round to the Oklahoma City Thunder before quickly being acquired by the Wizards in a draft-night trade.
Winston's rookie contract was a two-way deal that gave him the opportunity to join Washington's G-League affiliate with the understanding he could be pulled up at anytime. Unfortunately -- just like the final stretches of his senior season -- the G-League was shut down due to COVID-19 midway through last year.
With the G-League now postponed until February, the team has been forced to get "creative with drills" to keep Winston engaged and developing. With three options currently ahead of Winston, (Russell Westbrook, Ish Smith, Raul Neto) there just aren't enough point guard minutes to go around.
Coming into Sunday, Winston had only notched two minutes of NBA playing time. But, with Smith and Neto both out and Westbrook limited by a hamstring injury, tonight is the former Spartans' time to shine.
Through 12 minutes of play in the first half, Cassius Winston has two points and a surprising three rebounds.
Let's see what he can do in the second half as the Wizards trail the Spurs 47-48 at halftime.