Dion Waiters will be crowned the 2012-13 NBA Rookie of the Year. His game's just that sophisticated.
Running alongside an All-Star point guard until his legs fall off, with a green light brighter than any other rookie will see all season, Waiters will cash in on his unique opportunity to hang big numbers on the board.
He won’t be strapped with the burden of carrying a rebuilding franchise on his back, and he’ll inevitably do what Meek Mill said he would on anybody who hates his game. The ROY trophy stays in Cleveland another twelve months as a result.
There is no rookie who fits better into his new situation than Dion Waiters will in Cleveland. Opposing back courts will have all eyes on Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving for obvious reasons. Defensive strategies will begin and end with stopping Kyrie on a nightly basis, and help will have to be sent from Waiters' side of the floor.
Irving’s ability to create, in addition, will leave Dion with more wide-open shot attempts than Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will combine to take all year. If he knocks down half of those open looks, and demonstrates the ability to create that made him the fourth overall selection this past June on top of that, he’ll lead all rookies in scoring.
While guys like Davis and MKG will be asked to perform as franchise players from day one, Irving will continue to carry that responsibility in Cleveland. Last year’s fourth overall pick Tristan Thompson, the Cavs' other first-round pick this year Tyler Zeller, along with Waiters and veteran big man Anderson Varejao will all share the responsibility of supporting Irving in that role.
Dion won’t be asked to deliver on the decade-long search for a franchise point guard that the Portland Trailblazers hope ends with the selection of Damian Lillard, nor will he have to figure out how he fits next to John Wall in Washington. All he’ll be asked to do in Cleveland is score, and I’m pretty sure that’s all he’s ever wanted to do in the first place.
To that end, Dion Waiters will have the ultimate green light this season. Antawn Jamison attempted 16 shots per game a year ago on a Cavs team desperate for anybody not named Kyrie Irving to simply shoot.
Anthony Parker shot six times per game on average, and both former starters are now gone. They’ve left approximately 22 shot attempts per game available for somebody to take.
Byron Scott is going to not ask, but require, Dion Waiters take at least 15 of those shots himself. I’m sure Waiters would be cool with taking even more as the season goes on. He is also going to log at least 30 minutes per game in Cleveland as a rookie because the Cavaliers have no clear-cut backup at shooting guard behind him.
Kelenna Azubuike and Daniel Gibson are the only other shooting guards on the Cavs' current roster. Azubuike has played 13 total games over the last three seasons, and Gibson, in the last year of his contract, may not stay in Cleveland for all 82.
The Cavaliers will then ask CJ Miles to play some shooting guard as well, and eventually Alonzo Gee. But Waiters will first play as many minutes as he's physically able to without breaking down. Cleveland has no other options.
Last season, Kyrie Irving led all rookies in field goal attempts with 14.6. Next was Brandon Knight at 11.7. After that, only MarShon Brooks (11.4), Klay Thompson (10.9) and Kemba Walker (11.6) averaged more than 10.
I expect Dion Waiters to take between 15 and 17 shots per game this season. I’m projecting he knocks down enough of those shots to finish with a scoring average of 16.2 points per game. He’ll be aggressive enough, and play the minutes necessary, to collect 5.6 rebounds per night. He'll also demonstrate the ability to facilitate some in averaging 3.5 assists.
Rookie of the Year numbers for Dion Waiters that ball hard enough for a certain Philly rapper to celebrate his game again on a future album.