NBA Draft Rumors: Taking Dion Waiters at No. 4 Would Be Major Mistake by Cavs

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistJune 28, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 09: Dion Waiters #3 of the Syracuse Orange reacts after making a three point basket in the first half against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the semifinals of the Big East men's basketball tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 9, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

There are several options the Cleveland Cavaliers should consider with the fourth pick in Thursday night's NBA draft, but Syracuse guard Dion Waiters shouldn't be one of them.

Waiters has watched his draft stock skyrocket over the past couple weeks, allowing him to become a virtual lock to get selected in the lottery. Now, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports the Cavs have interest in him inside the top five.

Drafting him that high would be a massive error in judgment by Cleveland. He simply has too many flaws in his game to get picked in a spot where the only acceptable result is becoming a gigantic part of the franchise's future.

His meteoric rise has been one of the draft's most surprising story lines. Even though he does have good scoring potential, so do a handful of other prospects in the class and some of them are struggling to stay on the first-round fringe, such as of John Jenkins of Vanderbilt.

Nothing on the surface suggest Waiters is a significantly better prospect than that next group of shooting guards. While it's understandable that the class lacks top-end talent, players like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Harrison Barnes and Bradley Beal are a much safer, smarter investment.

In his final season with the Orange, Waiters averaged 13 points on 48 percent shooting while playing only about 24 minutes per game. That's good efficiency, but it should take a lot more than that to warrant going at No. 4.

His other numbers were far less impressive. He shot just 36 percent from beyond the arc and 73 percent from the free-throw line. He averaged barely over two assists and rebounds. And he only reached the 20-point threshold three times all season.

That doesn't exactly scream NBA superstar. The negative aspects of his game don't end there, either.

He checks in at just 6'4'', which will make it extremely difficult for him to defend taller shooting guards. Players like Kobe Bryant would exploit that weakness all night, negating any offensive contributions Waiters had.

Furthermore, he's basically stuck at the 2-guard spot because he didn't showcase the ability to run an efficient offense. Plus, Kyrie Irving already has the point guard job locked down for what the Cavaliers hope will be a long, long time.

It's not all bad, of course. Along with the ability to attack the rim, Waiters has showcased plenty of athleticism and should be able to make an immediate impact. But that's not enough to make him worth picking for Cleveland, especially since the team still needs more time to build its roster anyway.

Franchises should always be wary of prospects who start making their way up draft boards late in the process, when no actual basketball is playing played. Waiters is no exception.

At this point, the hype far outweighs his actual draft value. That makes him far too risky for the Cavaliers.