I’m coming. I just feel as though I’m next up as far as shooting guards. If you look around, you know, Kobe [Bryant] and [Dwyane] Wade and those guys, they paved the way for a player like me and they’re almost done. It’s not like that, but I’m just saying, I’m coming. I just want everybody to know that.
Without a doubt, I really believe that [I’ll eventually be the best shooting guard in the NBA]. This year, I’m going to show a lot of people who doubted me and still doubt me. I’m going to show them. And I don’t need praise and all of that. I just want to be respected. I’m coming. That’s all I have to say.
Waiters does have a point—about having something to prove, that is.
His rookie season was rife with scoring (14.7 points a night), but he struggled to remain efficient, shooting just 41.2 percent from the field overall and 31 percent from deep. Should he wish to join the ranks of elite shooting guards, let alone become the best one in the league, he must improve upon the 13.7 PER he registered last year.
Normally, it wouldn't behoove anyone to make snap judgments about a player after just one season in the Association, but Waiters is guilty as charged. One year into his career, he's already looping himself into the best-shooting-guard conversation.
Never mind that Kobe and Wade won't be around much longer—Harden is only 24. Waiters will have to go through him en route to claiming the shooting-guard crown.
Others, like Golden State's Klay Thompson, don't figure to go down quietly, either. Waiters is going to have competition.
At least he had the common sense not to pit himself against the greats now. Though he clearly isn't short on confidence, he wasn't saying he was already better than Wade and Kobe. That's something.
And before we dismiss his comments as crazy talk, let's give him an opportunity to turn any existing doubt into some form of belief. No matter what he says, one year still isn't enough time to define a player's career, to predict their future.
"I’ve taken my work ethic to another level and I feel as though I still have something to prove," Waiters said. "So, watch out.”
Take note, Harden. And Thompson. And the rest of the NBA's shooting guards. Waiters appears to be coming for you.