As Dion Waiters rapidly approaches “most-overanalyzed” status in Cleveland, this article will stay brief. Obviously, appreciation runs deep at Cavs: the Blog, where Dion fervor already reached religious proportions. For a sampling of why:
- Ranking tenth in usage and offensive rating, he arguably performed as the Big East’s most efficient offensive player in 2011 – 2012. Of the nine players above him in O-rating, Kevin Jones used the next highest number of possessions, but behind a reasonable gap (25.6 per 100 team possessions for Waiters vs 23.1 for Jones). Of the group using more possessions, only Maalik Wayns approached D-Wait for offensive rating, although at 116 versus 110, it was not that close. So, I could straight-faced-debate his status as the best offensive player in the nation’s best conference.
- On defense, the difference between Waiters compared to his fellow Syracuse guards can “be regarded as immense”. A primary strength included finishing thirteenth in the entire NCAA for steal percentage. Once he learns man-to-man, his strength & aggressiveness portend solid NBA performance, too.
- Of eighteen drafted NCAA guards last year, he ranked 3rd in PER. He was one year and eighteen months younger than the higher-rated players, and also battled a more onerous schedule.
- Who thinks Dion Waiters rates as a better bucket-getter than Brad Beal, Austin Rivers, Thomas Robinson and Cody Zeller? Apparently Ohio State’s coaching staff, who described him thus: “by far the best scorer we’ve faced this year”.
- With everything outlined above; no wonder why John Hollinger placed Waiters at fourth overall in his 2012 Draft Rater and projected him as the “best small wing since Dwyane Wade”.
- Ok, enough. Everyone gets it. Advanced stats love Dion Waiters. That horse has been pummeled. How about sick dunks? Maybe between-the-legs or a windmill-off-the-bounce?. If you reacted, “he bulked up too much since his high school days”; what about a video of the same dunk during warm-ups at the Sweet Sixteen this March?
- Unfortunately in games, the dunks include no tricks, but do sometimes involve pairs of posterized big men.
- He brings swagger and is discussing ROY and the playoffs. Despite long odds; I appreciate the confidence.
- And it is not like tough situations restrained Waiters before. As described by Dime Magazine: Waiters’ rep grew as a Philly street-ball legend, whose mom is “(his) backbone throughout (his) entire life”, and with a “strict disciplinarian” father; he defeated all obstacles and made it out of a tough neighborhood.
- I do not want to overvalue pre-season games, but in Cleveland’s two victories, Dion took the mantle of crunch-time-king. Between 4:41 and 1:55 to go in the fourth quarter of his first game, he tallied seven points and one assist to stretch a four-point lead to nine. In the final stanza of his third professional tilt, he scored ten points and threaded two assists while Cleveland stretched a two point lead to ten. Certainly, the waning minutes of pre-season affairs lack top-line talent, but each of the guys on the court are battling for a roster or rotation spot, and D-Wait managed to separate himself from the pack.
In summary, I am on the Dion Waiters bandwagon. As a Cavs fan, I do not know why I would not be. (Also, I will be at the Cavs – Magic game tonight. Follow me on twitter @hetrick46 for in-game thoughts.)