Originally written on Crossover Chronicles  |  Last updated 11/17/14
When Waiters returns from his relatively minor knee injury, he will the leader of the banged-up Cavaliers, even though he just entered the NBA back in the winter Although he is just a rookie, Dion Waiters has already shown bounds of leadership on his scuffling Cleveland Cavaliers team, a team that has struggled the whole season and is suffering from a bad case of the injuries, tanking, lack of talent and Luke Walton so far in the 2012-13 campaign. Playing in 57 games (starting in 48 of them), Waiters, a Syracuse product, has averaged 14.7 points and 3.0 assists per contest while serving as a clear secondary option to Kyrie Irving and even a tertiary scoring option when Anderson Varejao was healthy earlier on in the season.  However, Kyrie, before hurting his shoulder (he's expected to miss three to four weeks), had missed upwards of 10 games throughout the year, leaving some isolated chances for Waiters to take the reins of the team dispersed throughout his debut season. For the most part, in these games, he has shown that the fourth-overall pick Cleveland used on him was well worth it. Furthermore, these opportunities have shown the rookie has the ability to be a leader in his own right, which will be important for the duration of Kyrie's injury. Waiters, who is expected to miss at least a week with his own knee injury, has embraced the fact that he will have to step up while Kyrie is hurt in order to keep the lowly Cavaliers playing somewhat competitive basketball. That is important to see from a young player, especially in today's age of intrusive sports media and blogging when greener guys, in situations like Waiters is in, sometimes shy away from the responsibility of leading a team for the sake of not getting the criticisms they might face if they fail in that leadership role. As said to Jeff Garcia of Project Spurs after San Antonio edged the Cavs in a close game down in Texas a few days ago: "I think teams are going to lock in on me [Waiters] more. They're going to double on me. But you know, we make adjustments and go out there and play no matter what the situation is and how they defend you." The alpha-dog mentality Waters has exhibited as he fights his own injury and prepares to play with the Cavaliers without both Irving and Varejao is a really fascinating and enlightening one to be shown by a rookie point guard without much experience. It is a rare one to be seen in the NBA of the 21st century and  should give Cleveland another great player and personality in Waiters to go along with the clear-stud that is Kyrie Irving. Hopefully Waiters' injury will not keep him out long and he will be able to return to the lineup and assert himself and grow as a player. With these guys in their backcourt for the near-future, the Cavaliers will be set, especially when Varejao returns from injury and teams back up with Tristan Thompson to make two intimidating point guard/shooting guard and power forward/center combinations for Cleveland. That kind of roster structure would be scary for any NBA team to face off against -- maybe except for the Heat and Thunder -- as its ceiling would be ridiculously high, going to such heights based on how its multiple talents and players mesh together on the floor.  [follow]
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Kentucky remains unbeaten after thrilling win over ND

John Calipari blasted for postgame interview

WATCH: MJ, Tom Brady play pickup game in Bahamas

WATCH: Wrong national anthem played for El Salvador

WATCH: Russell Wilson smashes HR in Rangers BP

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

John Fox: Jay Cutler will have to earn starting QB job

Report: Shaka Smart, Gregg Marshall candidates for Texas

Kurt Warner is helping to turn around Colin Kaepernick

Bizarre call allows Duke to cover spread against Utah

Saints love TE Josh Hill following Jimmy Graham trade

Darren Sproles' role is growing for the Eagles

Sam Dekker's hot shooting sends Wisconsin to Final Four

Mariners prospect dies from boat accident injuries

T.J. Ford sends heartfelt tweet about Rick Barnes

Bruins coach suits up as backup goalie

Tennessee fans show love for Bruce Pearl on campus rock

Louisville guard turned off phone after clutch NC State win

Steve Spurrier hung out with Kenny Chesney before concert

Winnipeg Jets prospect had a rough night on the ice

Did Dean Smith’s gifts to former players violate NCAA rules?

WWE unveils Ultimate Warrior statue

WATCH: Tom Brady jumps off tall cliff in Costa Rica

WATCH: 2 Chainz beats Dominique Wilkins in HORSE

NBA 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.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

John Fox: Cutler will have to earn job

Texas eyeing Shaka Smart, Gregg Marshall?

WATCH: Brady jumps off cliff in Costa Rica

WATCH: 2 Chainz beats Nique in HORSE

Elite Eight preview and predictions: Notre Dame vs. Kentucky

Elite Eight preview and predictions: Arizona vs. Wisconsin

NFL owners chose cost over game integrity

Be careful how loudly you cheer on Mo'ne Davis' olive branch

James Harden and the collective consciousness

Hottest coaching seats in NBA

Under-the-radar NL MVP candidates

Notre Dame’s coach makes first Elite Eight

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.