The Cleveland Cavaliers shocked a lot of people when they selected guard Dion Waiters fourth overall in last year’s NBA draft. After a rookie season filled with up and downs, it has began to appear as if the Cavaliers reached by picking Waiters so high.
Cleveland went into the draft with a clear agenda of finding a back court mate for point guard and rising star Kyrie Irving. Bradley Beal — who many considered the best shooting guard prospect in the draft — was gone a pick sooner to the Washington Wizards, and with Waiters stock rising so quickly leading up to draft day the Cavaliers decided to pull the trigger on him with the fourth pick, in favor of players Harrison Barnes who seemed like a perfect fit and filled a need.
Waiters’ rookie season started out a little slow. He struggled with conditioning during summer league, raising some questions about his discipline and desire. Then early in the regular season, Waiters’ wild shot selection left much to be desired as he shot .396 from the field prior to the All-Star break. To his credit, Waiters was averaging 14.2 points a game.
There has been some noted improvement in Waiters’ game after the break before he got injured. Waiters has shot the basketball much better overall and was averaging 16.9 points on .468 from the field and .357 from three-point range in 12 games, so there are signs that he can be a productive pro guard.
Waiters appears to be better suited for a reserve or sixth man role rather than a starter playing big minutes at this stage of his career. Waiters is excellent in the isolation game, but with Irving also dominating the ball often it’s a recipe for disaster as they could potentially fight for shots in the future. Waiters would have been a great pick in the 8-12 range, but fourth overall was a bit high for his skill set and abilities.