Found November 01, 2012 on Waiting For Next Year:
Dion Waiters, to this point is still shrouded in plenty of unknown. Certainly, the Cavaliers’ rookie shooting guard, selected fourth-overall in the most recent NBA Draft, came out of the gate swinging — 17 points on 6-of-14 from the floor and three steals — in the team’s Opening Night win over the Wizards. But save for the 28 minutes of play, not much of Waiters’ persona is common knowledge amongst Cleveland fans. For my feature in the impending third edition of the Cavs Zine, I dissected Waiters’ passion more than his play. Yes, we have seen the highlight reels of Dion’s days at Syracuse, and read the glowing remarks from those who have somewhat of a vested interest in the player succeeding at the next level, but until Tuesday night, expectations surrounding Waiters were kept fairly low. Talks of question marks surrounding chemistry, the penchant for focusing on published mock drafts and instant grade-based analysis as a means to say that the Cavaliers “reached” with their selection. Not helping his case was a sub-par showing in Las Vegas coupled with injuries rooted in poor conditioning; he was more Weighters than Waiters. But in the end, it was the inner-city kid from South Philly who managed to start his NBA career off with a fast break dunk, capping off the evening with a clutch three-point field goal to put his team back up by one point in the fourth quarter just as his they had let a double-digit lead slip away. It was only one evening, but on this very one, he was squaring off against a player who many Cleveland fans coveted in Bradley Beal, the sharp-shooting guard out of Florida. But it was also on this night, while Waiters was acting as an integral part in a victory, that Beal not-so-sharply shot 2-for-8, failing to score through the entire second half. The rub, however, exists in the next week or so of scheduled Cavalier contests. With the Wine and Gold hosting the Chicago Bulls before heading out west to face the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, Oklahoma City Thunder, and  then back east to face the relocated Brooklyn Nets. This schedule will swap out, in terms of direct opposition, a rookie for a slew of established veterans — Monta Ellis, Jamal Crawford, Jared Dudley, Thabo Sefolosha and Joe Johnson — as well as an up-and-coming guard in Klay Thompson. While Waiters undoubtedly plays the game of basketball with a chip on his shoulder, staring down the opposing bench following a crowd-raising second-half dunk during his first game as a professional, will that be enough to carry his game to the level of the aforementioned? Prior to the trade consummated between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets, hopes around these parts were that Waiters could somehow mimic guard James Harden — in both career arc and impact — as a means to provide much-needed scoring relief from the wing. Harden’s rookie season was marred with ups and downs, leading to bench minutes and 9.9-point scoring average. Waiters exceeded expecations across the board in his debut, outshining the memories of Kyrie Irving’s debut a season ago, stifled by the Toronto Raptors, finding more iron than net. There’s a decent liklihood that Waitiers will not average 17 points per game this season; the over/under placed upon his name by the Vegas minds was 12.5. (Basidc math states that, in a vacuum, Waiters should finish with eight points against the Bulls on Friday.) He will have his rookie roller coaster, and will undoubtedly face stiffer competition in the coming weeks. It will be at this point that the hapless critics and myopic cynics — who have to this point remained silent — will crawl out of the shadows to opine about how questionable Chris Grant’s “moves” are, lobbing names of who Cleveland should have taken with the fourth-overall picks 1 . But by no stretch will this change the team’s faith in the player, or the player’s faith in himself, to play his game at a high level against NBA competition. When I asked him how important it was to get that first basket out of the way, Waiters let out a smile as even he didn’t anticipate his NBA ice-breaker being that easy. While tougher tests undoubtedly exist ahead, the successes had in his first game will only serve as tools for learning and future success. As he grows, the team will undoubtedly work him into their offense even more — the 28 game minutes may creep into the low 30s. With Waiters, it will be a waiting game. But in the end, assuming he’s the player Grant and his scouts raved about for much of the last 12 months, it will be wholly worth it. – (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) ___________________________________ Don’t count out the chances of Tristan Thompson being grouped in here, especially now that Jonas Valanciunas is in the NBA
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Dan Gilbert: Post-Decision letter ‘not the most brilliant thing I’ve ever done’

Prior to the Cavaliers’ Opening Night tip-off on Tuesday night, team majority owner Dan Gilbert addressed the media to discuss the upcoming season. Given Gilbert’s notoriety, however, not every question revolved around the future as the fiery business man was asked to address the letter he penned following “The Decision,” wherein he guaranteed that his Cavaliers would win...

Byron Scott fires back at criticsim of Anderson Varejao

Annoying in a bad way? I would say that in a good way. Who said it? Man or woman? Did he ever play the game of basketball? I don’t think so. Saying that about Andy to me is a sign of respect. His game is annoying? I think it is for guys who have to guard him, yeah. You know you’re not going to get a day off. The shot goes up, he’s coming, both ends of the floor. So if I’m...

Kyrie Irving Stars in New "Uncle Drew" Commercial with Kevin Love, Bill Russell

Kyrie Irving's first "Uncle Drew" commercial with Pepsi last year was a huge hit. Cavaliers fans and NBA fans across the country seem to love "Uncle Drew". The super sophomore now a 2nd edition of the hit commercial with Pepsi just as the NBA season tips off.  It also features Bill Russell and Kevin Love as "Wes".  Not bad....

The Cleveland Cavaliers Got People Out Of The Dark Last Night & Gave Them A 10 Point Win

The Cleveland Cavaliers were able to shed a little light into the people’s lives who lost power due to the hurricane that left them in the dark. Many Cavs fans were able to go to the Q to watch the return of their Cleveland Cavaliers as they kicked off their 2012-13 NBA Season and what a kick off to the new season it was. The Cavaliers beat the Washington Wizards by 10 points 94...

Video: Kyrie Irving and Kyrie Irving star in “Uncle Drew Part II”

Tweet Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving is a rising star in the NBA, as is Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star forward Kevin Love. The two got together for the second installment of Pepsi Max’s online series that casts Irving as “Uncle Drew”, an old-school baller with insane game. The video also features NBA legend Bill Russell: [...]

NBA Star Of The Night: Anderson Varejao

Were you able to snag Anderson Varejao, of the Cleveland Cavaliers, in your fantasy basketball draft to the laughter of your friends? If you did, your silliness paid off as Varejao made the history books with an incredible statline Tuesday night. It was his 23 rebounds — 12 offensive – and 9 assists that put [...]The post NBA Star Of The Night: Anderson Varejao appeared first...

Gilbert Admits Hindsight Shows Cavaliers Should Have Traded LeBron

Dan Gilbert can empathize with the decision made by the Thunder to trade James Harden before he hit free agency.

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love star in "Uncle Drew: part 2" (Video)

Previously on That NBA Lottery Pick, we featured a short film starring Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie dressing up in old man make-up as "Uncle Drew" and schooling some street ballers.In this clip, Uncle Drew invites help from old man name Wes who is really Timberwolves forward Kevin Love:  (Courtesy of Pro Basketball Talk)

Honorary POTD: Tristan Thompson on The Washington Wizards

Opening night was a blast, but it failed to provide us with the regular season’s first Poster of the Day.  Fortunately, this doesn’t mean the evening was completely devoid of spectacular aerial exploits.  As the Heat put it to the Celtics, LeBron James could be found streaking through the lane and rising high above the rim.  And, in Cleveland, Tristan Thompson helped Kyrie...

Waiters Making First Start Since High School

Dion Waiters (left): "Screw College, when I make the big leagues, I'll be starting on opening day." Scoop Jardine: "Good one bud." Scoop better believe it. According to Rick Noland of the Chronicle Telegram, Dion Waiters will be in the Cavaliers starting line-up in the Cleveland Cavaliers season opener tonight against Washington, giving Waiters...

Box Score: Wizards 84 Cavaliers 94

It was less than a year ago when Kyrie Irving made his forgettable Cavalier debut. Tonight, we saw what a difference experience and confidence made for Kyrie as the Cavaliers survived a Wizards 4th quarter run to come away with a big opening night win. Dion Waiters had a stellar debut, making Cavs fans forget about most of their preseason worries. Waiters finished with 17 points...

Kyrie Irving is an elite actor, too

You can watch this again, it's okay. I know you want to. Truth is, Kyrie Irving may act as well as he plays basketball. That's what I thought this morning as I watched Uncle Drew's second installment for the fifth time. [youtube]MLyvkBifQ3w[/youtube]Somehwere, Robert De Niro just gave Leondardo DiCaprio a high five in response to that pocket pass. Good to see Wes still...

Cavaliers (1-0) vs. Bulls (1-0) - Game 2

VENUE: Quicken Loans Arena TIP-OFF: 7:30 p.m. TV: FOX Sports Ohio HD (Cavaliers Live pre-game, 7 p.m.) RADIO: WTAM-1100 AM (7 p.m.) PROBABLE STARTERS Cavs vs. Bulls C Anderson Varejao vs. Joakim Noah F Tristan Thompson vs. Carlos Boozer F Alonzo Gee vs. Luol Deng G Dion Waiters vs. Richard Hamilton G Kyrie Irving vs. Kirk Hinrich COACHES: Byron Scott, Cavs; Tom Thibodeau...

WFNY chimes in with Cavaliers season predictions

With the season starting tonight, the WFNY gang answered some questions about the upcoming 82 games. We also asked Jack @WayneEmbrysKids to participate with us. Because he’s one of the cool kids on the twitters. 1. What will be the Cavaliers’ Win-loss record? How much does it mean in the scheme of things? SCOTT: I’ve gone on record with my forecast of 27-55, which should slot...

Cavs Fall to Bulls, 115-86

It was an ugly, ugly game. Well,  that sure was discouraging. I wasn’t expecting much from the Cavs on Friday night. While I enjoyed the Cavs opening night win against the Wizards, the Bulls are an entirely different basketball beast. The Bulls have veteran players who know what they’re doing on both ends of the floor. Chicago is patient on offense and they move the ball to...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.