Originally posted on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 6/20/13
Disrespectful. A late-May, one-word re-tweet from the account of Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Dion Waiters was all it would take for fans of the Wine and Gold to have pause when considering the upcoming NBA Draft, set to kick off one week from Thursday. The response was in regard to a local media member insinuating that Waiters should be the Cavaliers’ sixth man in the coming seasons. Thinking is that Waiters played the sixth man role well during his time at Syracuse and other NBA teams have thrived with a sixth man who would be good enough to start, but provide balance with their respective squad’s reserve unit. With the poster boy of this role being James Harden during his days in Oklahoma City, we discussed this very idea during the onset of Waiters’ rookie year. During his limited time as a reserve for Byron Scott, Waiters saw improvement in his shooting percentage—both from the floor and the line, shot selection, and, thus, points per game. His first game off of the bench, Waiters provided 20 points in 29 minutes; two weeks later, he dropped 33. The Cavaliers’ record, however, was not yielding wins, so the fourth-overall pick was inserted back into the starting lineup. The record still didn’t reflect changes made as the Cavaliers struggled mightily. In his post-season interview, Waiters discussed growth and maturity, experience and education. Since then, the offensively addled off-guard has done everything in his power to remind fans and media alike that he longs to be a starter within the NBA. “I’m a starter in this league,” Waiters recently said in regard to a discussion he had with Mike Brown. “Coming off the bench, those were my college days.” Coupling these words with those of disrespect, Cleveland fans—glass-half-empty worry warts at heart—instantly drum up the potential chaos that could evolve from selecting Kansas’ shooting guard Ben McLemore with the first-overall selection. Sure, he may be the next Ray Allen. The 6-foot-5-inch swingman has all of the tools—the beautiful release, the ability to run off of screens, the perfect combination of athleticism and finesse—to provide the Cavaliers with a much-needed scoring punch to help take the load off of superstar point guard Kyrie Irving. But what if it creates a pseudo-quarterback controversy? After all, the Cavaliers used a lottery selection on a shooting guard just one year ago; doing so with another one could prove fatal from a chemistry standpoint. And we all know Mike Brown doesn’t do well with locker room issues 1 . Why create an unstable environment when there are other options? [Related: WFNY Podcast: Scott Raab touches on McLemore's potential impact on Waiters] You do so because of superstar potential. We will never know what transpired behind those walls in Independence on Wednesday afternoon when McLemore was alongside other would-be first overall selections with immense defensive prowess. We do know that the shooting guard has struggled in previous visits, and we are well aware that his representation issues have created a bit of a mess 2 . But we also know that, despite the Cavaliers’ need for a small forward as well as a defensive stopper in the post, many teams have been able to flourish with a three-guard rotation. The Thunder and Spurs have perfected this model, but upstart teams like the Golden State Warriors (Steph Curry, Jarret Jack and Klay Thompson), New York Knicks (Ray Felton, Iman Shumpert, and JR Smith), and Los Angeles Clippers (Chris Paul, Willie Green and Jamal Crawford) all excelled by having a offensively focused shooting guard coming off of the bench. In the Knicks’ case, Smith started in zero contests, but still led the team in minutes—thus, proving the addage, it’s not who starts, but who finishes. Recall that it was the sixth-man role which almost forced Waiters to transfer out of Syracuse. By all accounts, the 21-year old wants to start. But he has, per himself and those around him, matured greatly over the last year. Around this time one year ago, Waiters was overweight and entitled. Today, he has been a frequent visitor at the team’s pristine practice facility in Independence, spends a lot of his energy promoting charity events, and goes home to Philadelphia not to run around with Meek Mill and the hustle, but to spend time with family. As 92.3 The Fan’s Anthony Lima puts it, “He’s a different kind of dude.” Waiters is also different in the impact that each shooting guard can have on the game—he and McLemore are far from identical players. Waiters is undoubtedly a dribble-drive, embarrass-the-Birdman kind of dude with a bit of a mean streak. The impending rookie—while explosive in his own right—prefers to pick you apart from a longer distance, while doing so at a higher efficiency. A silent assassin kind of dude. One week from now, all of the speculation surrounding who will be taken versus who should be taken will seize. Sure, there will be a vocal cabal who will prematurely cast their disdain for whomever is taken, doing so until the cards shake out and we all get a better idea of what we have versus what could have been 3 . But if it is in fact McLemore’s name who is called, and the Kansas product places a flat-brimmed Cleveland hat on his head before shaking hands with the Basketball Beelzebub, know that the Cavaliers (as they have in the past) did all of the due diligence needed prior to making the selection. If you draft Kevin Johnson when you employ Mark Price, you waste zero time selecting Ben McLemore when you employ Dion Waiters. No disrespect. – David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images ___________________________________ You know, because there was a monumental collapse of an ego-built house of cards back in 2009-10, he obviously cannot handle players without catering to them. Obviously. McLemore has signed with Rivals Sports Group but is at the center of an investigation surrounding his former AAU coach accepting payments in return for influence. See: Thompson, Tristan.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: K-State players storm student section after big win

Tony Dungy coaches his way into Canton

Top eight takeaways from NFL Honors awards

Report: Austin Rivers out 4-6 weeks with broken hand

Brett Favre Hall of Fame discussion took less than 10 seconds

WATCH: Pop wishes Kobe well in heartfelt message


Eric Berry named NFL Comeback Player of the Year

Cam Newton to be named NFL MVP

Ezekiel Elliott hung out with Jim Brown

Rickie Fowler taunted by fans over his ex-girlfriend

Roger Goodell speaks about future of Pro Bowl in annual address

Mike Krzyzewski provides an update on his health

Another star confirmed for Super Bowl 50 halftime show

WATCH: Wayne Simmonds loses his cool, earns match penalty

Winners and losers from 2016 Hall of Fame vote

Brett Favre, Tony Dungy headline Hall of Fame Class of 2016

Terrell Owens says he was not elected to Hall of Fame

Bruins prospect hit in throat with puck, taken to hospital

WATCH: Mavs rookie laughed at for trash talking Spurs bench

Norris Cole has No. 30 retired with LeBron James, New Orleans Pelicans in attendance

Three keys to victory for the Broncos in Super Bowl 50

Torrey Smith: ‘This is probably the best offense’ for Kaepernick

Byron Scott thought D’Angelo Russell would be further along

Under-the-radar Super Bowl 50 matchups

Is Tim Lincecum's run with the San Francisco Giants done?

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker