NBA Rookie Spotlight Featuring Dion Waiters
After drafting Kyrie Irving in last year's draft, the Cavaliers decided to pick up another guard this year, taking Waiters fourth overall in the draft. The team now has two promising players in the backcourt and will look to build around these players.
Waiters has shown a lot of promise this year and is beginning to get some recognition in the NBA. This slideshow will take a look at some of the areas of Waiters' game and provide some analysis on how he has played, so far.
The Cavaliers drafted Waiters hoping that he would become another reliable scoring option. So far, he has done just that.
While Irving is still the leading scorer for the team, Waiters has become the second-highest scorer on the team. He is averaging 14.2 points per game, while Irving is averaging 23.5.
The scoring hasn't been much of a problem for Waiters, but the efficiency is something that he needs to work on. He is only shooting 39.6 percent from the field, which isn't something the team wants to see. The 30.1 shooting from behind the arc is also something they would like to see improve.
Lately, Waiters has improved on that. In his last five games, he has shot an impressive 58.8 percent. Although he missed all six of his three-point attempts, the recent efficiency is a good sign as the rookie continues to develop.
The Cavaliers are glad that Waiters is scoring, but he will also need to do a better job at getting others open for the team to succeed.
Waiters has a lot of talent and can put up a lot of points. However, he needs to learn when to distribute the ball when the defense is clearly focused on him.
So far, Waiters is averaging 3.2 assists per game. While this number isn't horrible, a closer look at his assists will show that he could do better.
According to Basketball-Reference.com, Waiters has an assist percentage of 18.6 percent. To put that in perspective, Irving, who averages 5.5 assists per game, has an assist percentage of 30.7 percent.
It's clear that Waiters has some work to do, and he still has a lot of time to mature offensively. This will be a learning process, and he should be fine with the right coaching.
Like most rookies, Waiters has struggled defensively. This isn't something to panic about, but he will need to develop in order to help the team start winning games.
According to Basketball-Reference.com, Waiters allows an estimated 111 points per 100 possessions. This number clearly needs to drop if he expects to become a better player overall.
It appears that Waiters' main focus is on offense. However, he needs to step up on the defensive side of the ball if he hopes to play in the NBA for a significant amount of time.
The Cavaliers will continue to add pieces to improve on their defense. They allow 101.3 points per game, which is 25th in the NBA in points allowed. Waiters will need to improve in order to help drop this number.
Rising Stars Challenge
Waiters got the chance to compete against other young players this weekend during the Rising Stars Challenge. It was a good way to see how he could play against other young stars in the league, and he certainly didn't disappoint.
Scoring wasn't a problem for Waiters in the game, as he had 23 points. It was the most by any bench player on either team.
What was even more impressive was how well Waiters shot. He took 12 shots in the game and made 11 of them. It was one of the more impressive performances in the game.
The Rising Stars game proved to everyone that Waiters is a true scorer. He has a lot of upside offensively and will continue to ride that while other aspects develop.
Overall, Waiters has had a pretty good rookie year. He has been a solid scorer for the Cavs and has been a good option to take pressure off of Irving.
There is a lot of upside with Waiters. He is a very aggressive player with a lot of natural ability. He can keep up with most shooting guards and has the opportunity to be one of the better players from this year's draft class.
There is still a lot that needs to be developed with Waiters, however. He is still struggling on the defensive side of the ball and needs to learn his role on offense. Physically, Waiters is just fine. Most of the things Waiters needs to work on are mental and will hopefully come as he begins to mature.