The Cleveland Cavaliers don’t just have one outstanding young guard.
Guard Dion Waiters is having a very good rookie campaign, and he has come up big in the last two games while All-Star guard Kyrie Irving has been out with a knee injury.
On Wednesday night in Cleveland, Waiters led the Cavaliers to a 103 to 92 victory over the Toronto Raptors. Waiters scored 23 points and passed out six assists in the victory. He shot 2 of 3 from behind the 3-point line, and he hit shots in big moments.
When the Raptors cut the lead to 93-90 with less than two minutes to play in the game, Waiters made the biggest play of the night.
Raptors star Rudy Gay’s dunk had just cut the Cavaliers lead to three points, and earlier in the season, the Cavaliers likely would have fallen apart after the dunk and lost the game.
On Tuesday, though, Waiters would not let that happen.
The 6-foot-4 guard responded to Gay’s dunk by knocking down a 15-foot jump shot to push the lead back to five points. That shot gave the Cavaliers the momentum and put them in control to win the game.
It was a big shot for a rookie to take, but Waiters never seems to lack any confidence. He knows that he can score, and it’s true that he sometimes forces shots due to his confidence. With Irving out of the line-up, though, Waiters knows that the team needs him to score, and he is coming through.
He is stepping up in big moments, and he is coming through for the Cavaliers.
Waiters is certainly not a perfect player yet, and he is not another Irving. However, the Cavaliers don’t need another Irving. The Cavaliers need another guard who can score with Irving in order to take the pressure off of him, and Waiters looks like he is that guy.
For the season, Waiters is averaging 14.6 points per game while shooting 41 percent from the field. He is only shooting 31 percent from behind the three-point line, but that percentage is going to improve in the next few years.
Waiters does not get any national attention, but he looks like one of the best rookies in the league this season. The rookie still needs to improve defensively and in other areas, but all of that is going to come in time.
He is only going to get better as he gains more experience, and it looks like Waiters should be able to form a great guard tandem with Irving for years to come.