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

Report: Rams put Nick Foles and Case Keenum on trade block

Report: Myles Jack will not attend draft on second night

Report: Dee Gordon tested positive for PEDs during spring training, tried to appeal

Tony Parker wants to play at five more seasons with Spurs

Report: Kings willing to trade DeMarcus Cousins


Report: Broncos rated Paxton Lynch higher than Jared Goff

Report: Celtics believe Kevin Durant will visit in free agency

Report: Ole Miss investigating Laremy Tunsil taking money

Ducks fire Bruce Boudreau after first-round playoff exit

Harper looks back at career on four-year anniversary of debut

Report: Ragland heart condition ‘a concern’ to some teams

Five things I learned when I started running

Five first-round reaches in 2016 NFL Draft

Arsene Wenger blames Arsenal fan protests on the media

WWE Payback 2016 predictions and preview

A message to Conor McGregor: The UFC always wins

A Round-By-Round Look At the NFL Draft

How the OKC Thunder became obsessed with halal

Best and worst from first round of NHL Playoffs

Manziel foots bill for 300 shots of whiskey on draft night

Five biggest Round 1 snubs of the 2016 NFL Draft

Eli Apple once trolled Giants fans on Twitter

Justin Verlander goes off on PED rules after Dee Gordon news announced

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

A Round-By-Round Look At the NFL Draft

10 biggest takeaways from the NBA playoffs thus far

QUIZ: Name every No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft since 1985

NHL postseason Round 2 quick hits: Sharks vs. Predators

NHL postseason Round 2 quick hits: Blues vs. Stars

NHL postseason Round 2 quick hits: Capitals vs. Penguins

10 bold predictions for the first round of the NFL Draft

NHL postseason Round 2 quick hits: Lightning vs. Islanders

Four surprises from Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

QUIZ: Name every MLB player to hit four home runs in one game

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker