How Good Can Dion Waiters Really Be?
The young Cavaliers shooting guard isn’t often mentioned as one of the best young players at his position. But that’s exactly what Dion Waiters has been for his first two years in the NBA. Despite changing coaches and the Cavs initial hopes of running their offense through Andrew Bynum, Waiters averaged 16 points per game this year and really came on as the second half of the season commenced.
After the all-star break, Waiters averaged 19.3 points per game on 46% shooting—great numbers by any stretch of the imagination. Waiters also shot 38% from 3 during the same time period, an indication of his improving ability from beyond the arc. So how good can Waiters really be?
Some people have mentioned that Waiters can’t grow next to Kyrie Irving, as both excel with the ball in their hands. But those people neglect to mention that Irving has been a good 3 point shooter his entire career, and that Waiters improving 3 point percentages each year (at this rate, he’d be good for 40% next season) could make them both great catch and shoot options from distance.
We already know that both are dynamic with the ball in their hands—Waiters proved that in his rookie season, when the only shooting guards taking more shots at the rim were named Wade, Kobe, and Harden.
Another summer of improvement for Dion Waiters could see him hit the 20 points per game mark next season. Waiters needs to improve his defense, and he also needs to continue to drive to the rim instead of settling. Although he’s a dynamic mid-range scorer (45% from 10-16 feet), Waiters needs to get to the free throw line more than 4 times per game. And he needs to convert more than the paltry 69% he shot from the free throw line last year.
If Waiters takes more shots at the rim (and converts them at a higher rate), gets to the line 20% more and hits 80% of his free throws, you could be looking at a 20 points per game scorer and a potential all-star candidate for years to come.
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