The NBA recently named Waiters as the Kia Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for February after he averaged 15.8 points per game on 51 percent shooting for the month. Waiters also averaged 2.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.1 steals per game during February.
Among all Eastern Conference rookies, Waiters ranked first in scoring and assists, and was second in steals and field goal percentage. Best of all, he helped the Cavaliers post a 7-5 record during the month, the team’s best month so far this season.
For the season, Waiters is averaging 14.8 points per game and is shooting 41 percent from the field. He did not start out the season with a great shooting percentage, in part because he was taking some bad shots in the first few months.
As he has settled into his role with the Cavaliers, though, Waiters has become much more comfortable and is taking better shots.
For the season, Waiters has the second-highest scoring average among all rookies, trailing only Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, who is averaging 18.4 points per game. Lillard also takes more shots per game than Waiters (15.6 shots per game for Lillard and 13.5 per game for Waiters), and they both shoot 41 percent from the field.
Lillard is also passing out more assist per game than Waiters (6.4 for Lillard compared to 3.2 for Waiters), and his statistics make him the front runner for Rookie of the Year.
In defense of Waiters, though, Lillard is playing on a team where he has the ball in his hands more and is being asked to do more, while Waiters is on a team with Kyrie Irving, who is one of the best point guards in the league and also one of the top scorers in the league.
One could argue that Waiters is having just as good of a season as Lillard, if you just consider the roles that the two players are being asked to take on. It should also be noted that when Irving has been out with injuries, Waiters has stepped up and increased his scoring in order to lead the team to some tough victories.
Many NBA fans and experts had questions about the Cavaliers selecting Waiters with the fourth pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, but the choice is looking pretty good right now. If Waiters keeps on improving and the team keeps getting better over the next few years, that No. 4 selection is just going to keep looking smarter and smarter all the time.