Waiters is going nuts! This kid can shoot!
Waiters is going nuts! This kid can shoot!
http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2012/1...up-tasty-dish/The Cavaliers have heard it all.
They reached to take Dion Waiters with the No. 4 pick in the draft.
He was never even a starter in his two seasons spent at Syracuse.
He has never been the catch-and-shoot-type scorer the Cavs need.
He promptly got injured at the Las Vegas Summer League because he was overweight.
Well, as Matt Damon famously said in Good Will Hunting, how do you like them apples?
That was the rookie Waiters, in just his fourth NBA game, burning the Clippers with 28 sizzling points on a white-hot 7-for-11 shooting from 3-point range.
It was one thing to see the 20-year-old take the floor and look like an established veteran on Opening Night last week. But that was at home and that was against the Wizards. Since that time, Waiters has continued to look anything but overwhelmed, moving confidently around the court and moving the ball.
Well, let’s get one thing straight. Talent and ability had nothing at all to do with Waiters not starting at Syracuse. That was just a decision made by coach Jim Boeheim, who rarely went to the final minutes in Waiters’ two seasons with the Orange without having the ball and the game in his hands. Waiters was a star and big-time producer.
Cavs coach Byron Scott has been an ardent defender from the day Waiters was drafted, refusing to pigeon-hole him into either guard spot. He’s just a guard, Scott has said over and over. He just knows how to play. Just ask the Clippers.
The biggest adjustment that Waiters has had to make from college is playing without the ball in his hands now that he’s starting alongside Kyrie Irving. Yet the transition has been smooth as he’s worked on coming off screens and improving his footwork to get better shots.
On Monday night, the Cavs’ kiddie corps backcourt of Irving and Waiters doubled up the Clippers veteran backcourt of Chris Paul and Willie Green, 52-26. Cleveland’s duo made things look easy for much of the game and made the plays and shots that held off L.A.’s late fourth-quarter run.
In four games, Waiters is averaging 16.3 points and has hit 11 of 20 3-pointers, making at least one in every game.
Now we know why Scott has been ignoring the critics and nodding his head toward Waiters. One more bit of validation and a glimpse at a future that might require sunglasses.
Gotta update that Kyrie one though.
I tried googling this, but got no results. I believe that there has never been a team that has won back to back Rookie of the Year awards. Imagine that foundation for a team? Especially in the backcourt which, in my opinion, is the most important part of the team. Especially considering the young pieces like Gee and AV that can surround them.
I was angry when the Cavs took Dion, I won't lie, because I thought Beal's size would help them out better on defense. However, now that Dion can prove he can steal the ball, that completely changes the game. If he's able to be crafty not only on offense, that Liliard guy is going to have to play his *** off if he wants ROY.
i'm a fan but lets calm the jets for a second. it's one good game. let's see how he does come game #20, 30, 40, etc...than we can start to get excited. I think the more this team plays together the better they are going to get.
Editor’s note: Wednesday night’s game between the Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors was not completed in time for this edition. For the result visit www.Ohio.com
OAKLAND, Calif.: It wasn’t long ago skeptics were questioning whether or not Dion Waiters was worth the No. 4 pick in the draft. After one monster night against the Los Angeles Clippers, now his name is being mentioned as an early candidate for the Rookie of the Year award. It has been quite a turnaround in a relatively short amount of time.
The player most fans wanted the Cavaliers to draft, Harrison Barnes, was across the floor in Wednesday night’s game against the Golden State Warriors. It’s still incredibly early, but Waiters has clearly outplayed Barnes, whom the Warriors selected seventh overall.
Barnes has averaged 7.5 points and 1.5 rebounds through his first four games. He totaled 30 points — or two more than Waiters had Monday against the Clippers.
Barnes’ name was associated with the Cavs in plenty of mock drafts leading up to the actual night, plus he shares the same agent (Jeff Wechsler) as Kyrie Irving. But Barnes never paid much attention to the chatter.
“You heard about it, but at the end of the day you don’t get too attached,” Barnes said. “I heard my name being associated with a couple of other teams, too.”
Waiters has insisted since draft night he isn’t bothered by the fans’ anger over the decision to bypass on Barnes.
“Everybody has their own opinion,” Waiters said. “There’s nothing I could do about that. I let my game do the talking.”
Cavs coach Byron Scott believes him, but thinks it motivates him, too.
“I really believe him when he says it doesn’t bother him, but I know him enough to know that it does drive him,” Scott said. “It motivates him to want to prove people wrong and make people say at the end of the day, we did the right thing, we picked the right guy. From that aspect, any time you can have something that motivates you like that, it’s great for that individual.”
The most surprising aspect to Waiters’ start might be his 3-point shooting. A 35-percent 3-point shooter in college, Waiters is making 40 percent of them this season and went 7-of-11 on 3-pointers Monday night. Scott called that performance a “once-in-a-lifetime type” of game.
“I’m hoping and praying he doesn’t think that’s what it’s going to be every night,” Scott said.
As for the Rookie of the Year chatter, it’s still incredibly early, but Scott isn’t surprised.
“We thought when we picked him that he would be a Rookie of the Year candidate,” Scott said. “We knew that he would have an opportunity to play and we felt he’d play well. He’s still going to have some ups and downs. It’s four games into the season. We’ve still got a long way to go. He’s on a little bit of a high right now, but he’s going to have some nights where he’s not playing well. We’ll see how he reacts to those, too.”
The Cavaliers had to face the Warriors without Anderson Varejao and Tyler Zeller. Varejao was a late scratch with swelling in his right knee and Zeller returned to Cleveland for further examination after he suffered a concussion and a non-displaced fracture in his left cheekbone during Monday’s victory at the Clippers.
There is no official timeline for Zeller’s return, although he likely won’t play in Friday’s game at Phoenix. The Cavs have discussed the likelihood of Zeller playing with a mask (he can be fitted for one while he’s in Cleveland) and he has been placed in the league’s concussion program, which every player must complete before returning to the court.
There remains a chance he could return for Sunday’s game at Oklahoma City.
Scott bemoaned the timing of the injury.
“The young fella has been playing really well, especially the last game, he was playing great,” Scott said.
Zeller had 15 points and seven rebounds Monday before the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan caught him with an elbow late in the fourth quarter. Initial X-rays taken at the arena were negative, but a CT scan on Tuesday revealed the fracture.
Varejao collided with Ryan Hollins during Monday’s game, but was able to make it through the rest of the game. The knee stiffened up over the last couple of days, but it isn’t considered serious.
Samuels takes over
Samardo Samuels will get the bulk of the playing time in Zeller’s absence. Samuels said Wednesday he is simplifying matters in his mind by focusing on rebounding and defense after spending most of his life worrying about scoring.
He even compared himself to Reggie Evans, the veteran defensive thumper who is now with the Brooklyn Nets.
“Rebound and defend, it’s not that hard to do,” Samuels said. “The last two years, I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself to score. But I’m more relaxed mentally just knowing all I have to do is rebound and defend. We’ve got scorers.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.
I will say this... For all the Harrison Barnes lovers, and nothing against Harrison Barnes. Tonight Barnes had his best game, but his best game was pretty much equal to Dion Waiters on a mediocre game (like tonight). It doesn't really mean much because again it's way too early.