The Cleveland Cavaliers are in a position to acquire Kevin Love but they will most likely have to give up Andrew Wiggins; the number 1 pick in June’s draft. I don’t know if this move will make the Cavaliers a championship team but it would be an interesting move. One player who will be affected by any decision the Cavs make is Dion Waiters.
Dion Waiters was the 4th pick in the 2012 draft. He was supposed to be a running mate for Kyrie Irving. Things have not worked out that great and the Cavaliers eventually won the number one pick in both the 2013 and 2014 draft.
After being in and out of the starting lineup for the Cavaliers, Waiters wants to start at shooting guard for the Cavaliers. Waiters is quoted saying, “I want to start and I believe that I should at the two.” Waiters is a shooting guard who is not a great shooter. He is more of a slasher, a guy who plays well with the ball in his hand. However Kyrie Irving handled the ball the majority of the time and now with the addition of LeBron James, Waiters will have to become a better catch and shoot player and better off the ball.
In his first season Waiters only played in 61 games but he started 48 and averaged 14.7 ppg while shooting 41% from the field and 31% from beyond the arc. Last season he played in 70 games but only started 24 games and he averaged 15.9 ppg while shooting 43% from the field and 36% from beyond the arc.
The Cavaliers picked Andrew Wiggins and he is expected to come right in and play next to Kyrie and LeBron. He’s not a great shooter either but he can play defense, something he has over Waiters. I understand Waiters desire to start because he has been with the organization but he needs to bring more to the table aside from being a scorer who needs the ball.
This situation would be easy if the Cavs trades away Wiggins for Kevin Love. Dion Waiters won’t have any competition at the shooting guard position and will get his wish. If the Cavs keep Wiggins then things become more interesting. Waiters has the experience over Wiggins and has shown the ability to improve his shooting.
In Waiters first season he took a lot of bad shots and did not shoot well from behind the arc. Granted the Cavs were a bad team and there weren’t many options of the offensive end. He was bad all over the floor, especially from the corners.
His shot chart for the 2013-14 season looked much better:
He was an average shooter from beyond the arc. He shot the ball well from mid-range. He shot it really well from the left corner. If Waiters wants to start at shooting guard for the Cavs this season he has to keep improving that corner three. He did not shoot it that well from the right corner but he will get more open shots this season.
LeBron James gets people open shots. He will help Waiters tremendously. In his four seasons with the Miami Heat LeBron and the big 3 became more efficient players. If the Cavs want to win a title then this team has to become more efficient. In his last season with the Cavs, LeBron played with Daniel Gibson and Gibson shot 47% from the 3 point line. After LeBron left his numbers went down to 40%, 35% and 34%. Waiters could easily make over 100 three pointers and make 38% of them.
Waiters’ usage rate was 26.9 last year for the Cavs. It will go down this season but his numbers can improve. Kyrie and LeBron will handle the ball so Waiters has to learn to cut and spot up at the 3 point line. He took 250 three pointers last year but only 54 from the corners. The corner 3 is very important in the league right now.
Offense is not the only thing that can help Waiters earn this starting spot. He has to improve his defense. He has to try harder on the defensive end. He is the same size as Dwyane Wade, although Wade is stronger. He is a fairly undersized two-guard but his effort on the defensive end can earn him the starting spot. Defense in the NBA is hard and although Wiggins is a good defender he will still have a lot to learn.
Simply believing he should start won’t earn him the spot. There is a new coach so he will have to prove that he is worthy for the starting role. If the team thinks they will play better with him coming off the bench he should accept that role and take advantage of those 2nd units. The Cavs could still move Wiggins for Love so these details won’t matter.