The people have spoken, and while it wasn’t quite unanimous, Dion Waiters got the most shout outs in the comment section, so Dion Waiters it is. If you’re unfamiliar with Mr. Waiters, you aren’t alone, as he’s flown under the radar most of the season leading up to the draft, and didn’t even crack the top 2 shooting guard prospects in my player comparisons a while back. The two prospects that were profiled, Jeremy Lamb and Bradley Beal (which are dated, but can be found here) have in the past been seen as better prospects, although lately Waiters has been skyrocketing up some draft boards. Chad Ford currently has him ranked as the 7th best prospect, and John Hollinger has him ranked as the 4th best prospect while comparing him to Dwayne Wade. So, is he the late-lottery to mid-first round pick he was projected to be two months ago, or the second coming of one of the greatest two guard to grace and NBA floor in the past couple decades? Let’s take a look.

Waiters’ most obvious comparison in the draft is the aforementioned Bradley Beal, as they are both undersized two guards, although once you get past the height, they possess very different skillsets. While Beal prefers to most of his damage on the perimeter, Waiters is a classic slashing combo guard. Measuring 6’4” (6’2.5” without shoes) Waiters is a few inches below the optimal height for a shooting guard, but used his superior strength to bully his way into the paint at the collegiate level. Defensively, he is prone to gambling (think a slightly more responsible Barbosa) which leads to impressive steal numbers, but he is by no means a lockdown defender. While not as polished as his slashing game, he is a reliable shooter off the dribble within the arc, and has proven he can stroke from the 3 point line (albeit a college 3), and also possesses an above average floater.

He has been described as a “sneaky” athlete, as he doesn’t possess the prototypical build one might expect out of explosive athlete. Despite having good ball handling skills and being a competent passer, he doesn’t project as a point guard (although stranger things have happened), and seems positioned to enter the league as a combo guard capable of playing the point in a pinch. Despite struggling mightily in his rookie season, Waiters was a very effective bench player for the Orange as a sophomore, and some scouts believe he will continue being a “spark off the bench” type player once he enters the league. In college, he was not an effective half-court player, and did the majority of his work off the break with impressive efficiency. Waiters pulled out of the draft combine and cancelled the rest of his workouts after reportedly being promised he would be picked by a lottery team. As this article gets posted, the best information I can get points to Phoenix at 13 making the guarantee, and not Toronto (8) or Portland (6 & 11).

I’ve watched about an hour of tape on Dion Waiters (kind of depressing, I know) and for the life of me I can’t quite figure this one out. I am by no means an expert talent evaluator, but the elite level player Waiters is being compared to is simply ludicrous. Hollinger’s assertion makes no sense whatsoever; Dwayne Wade (in both college and the NBA) attacked the basket with ferocity through traffic, while Waiters takes the opportunities presented to him (mostly on the break) and finishes hard, but without much explosiveness. The other player Waiters is often compared to (in a best case scenario) is Ben Gordon, and again, I simply don’t find this to ring true. Gordon manhandled his collegiate opponents and was an absolute nightmare from the perimeter, and even he has regressed into a mediocre two guard.

The “sneaky” athlete label Waiters picked up is really just a sneaky way of saying he isn’t a great athlete.  While it’s obvious that Waiters is stronger than the two guards he faces, I have doubts whether this will translate into the NBA where the majority of his opponents will be just as strong, and much larger. His shot will also be bothered by lengthier and more aggressive NBA defenders.  His small stature will also be a liability on the defensive end, where he has yet to prove effective, even against inferior opposition. With a lack of a refined half-court game, and his potential to be a defensive burden, Waiters will almost certainly be relegated to the bench, at least to begin his NBA career.

While my analysis didn’t do a fantastic job of conveying it, I’m actually not as down on Waiters as it might appear, I’m just not as star-crossed as it seems some (far more knowledgeable) people are over at ESPN are. If he figures everything out, which is a big if, he could turn out to be an Eric Gordon type player. On the other hand, from what I’ve seen, I think it’s far more likely he turns out to fall somewhere in the range of Ben Gordon and a homeless man’s version of Ben Gordon.

If anyone has something they’d like me to look into, just leave me a message in the comment section and I’ll get on it for tomorrow.

Share this:
  • Ambidextrious

    No thanks ill pass, hes not worth it at 8. Waiters seems like he could be a head case IMO. Picking at eight, Id prefer to go with one of these guys :
    Jeremy Lamb
    Damian Lillard
    Harrison Barnes
    Austin Rivers
    Terrence Jones

    • onemanweave

       Add Drummond to that list and you’ve likely got the group that might be available at #8 with huge potential both up and down.  Barnes likely has the highest floor but will likely be gone.
         To me PJ3 and Drummond have the highest ceilings and lowest floors.  Toronto has some young players like Ed Davis, JJ and DD who should make rotation players for years to come.  Why not swing for the fences with PJ3 or Drummond?  Is there someone else in this group with even MORE upside?

    • aristides

      People have been undervaluing Austin Rivers and continue to do so.  The fact is he may have as much upside as anyone who will be available at #8.  Maybe not as much as Drummond and PJ3, but more than Lamb, Lillard, and even Barnes, and here is why.  His numbers are about the same as the others’, but he is only a freshman, whereas Lamb and Barnes are sophomores, while Lillard is a senior.  This means Rivers has much more room to grow.  Plus, his game is much more suited to the spacing in the NBA.  

  • CalgaryRapsFan

    Interesting article/mock on CNNSI, which seems to think that Golden State might be the team that made the promise to Waiters, after PJII/T.Jones failed to impress in their head-to-head workout.


    • David Helm

        Hey CalgaryRapsFan, thanks for the heads up on the article (which I just read) and while it does have the Waiters going 7 to Golden State, it doesn’t mention any information about him being given a promise. From the best scouts & experts can gather, it was Phoenix at 13 who made the guarantee, although some have suggested it may have been Portland with one of their two first round picks, or Toronto.

      • CalgaryRapsFan

        You are right, the article didn’t mention the promise apparently made to Waiters.  It did mention that their sources had GS now listing Waiters as their new #1 target… I guess I just put 2 and 2 together.

        • David Helm

          Ha, sorry if I came back a little too strong, I just spent way too much time last night trying to figure out who gave him the guarantee, and I would have been upset if I had somehow missed that it was GS. Either way, thanks for the article, it was really helpful.

  • sleepz

    Syracuse grads rarely make good pro’s. Melo, DC and Sherman Douglas maybe but the list is not that long.

    High steal numbers but played in a 2-3 zone his entire college career.

    Waiters might indeed turn out to be a good pro but I have some serious reservations based on watching him play for the ‘Cuse.

    I think N.O. made a promise to him at #10.

    • thead

       I can’t think of one lock down defender to come out of there either.  The rely heavily on zone defense

      • voy

        i was a big orangeman fan.  i remember one game, i think it was against cal or duke in the final four tourney, the game went down to the wire or it was in overtime.  ‘cuse had just made a big bucket and during the opposition’s next possession lawrence moten crouched down in a defensive stance and slapped the floor with both hands.  the crowd was going wild. i had tears streaking down my cheeks as I was yelling D-FENCE, D-FENCE.  my dad was on the verge of disowning me that day.

        syracuse defence, baby.

    • Nilanka15

      Hakeem Warrick is the shiznit!

  • c_bcm

    As with the past 4 or so years, we never guess right. I think the fact that we, on this site, are spending so much time talking about Waiters, PJ3, and Lillard, almost guarantees that these are not the guys BC is going after. What my Spidey-senses are telling me is that we are always going to be the victims of deflections and misdirections from the media. There are very few, if any, good reasons for teams and their scouts to discuss the top picks with media. Which means, we will not know what teams are thinking either.

    Fun to discuss, just try not to get too worked up over anyone’s opinion right now. It will be much more interesting and useful to discuss the FA market once the draft picks have been made.

    • Nilanka15

      Then again, we all had a pretty good idea that Bargnani would be our choice at #1.  And DeRozan seemed to be the consensus pre-draft pick as well.

      Davis and Valanciunas both caught everyone by surprise because none of the “pundits” expected them to drop.

      • Milesboyer

        If BC is anything he is a man of his word, even if he likes to keep it close to the vest.  He flat out denied the promise to Waiters so I would be surprised if he was lying to everyone….or, it’s a two horse race between the other team that made the promise and the Raps.  I haven’t seen much of any of these guys but I would like to think that Chad Ford has seen a lot more than an hour of tape and if he and others, who get paid to check this stuff out have him ranked so high, then I would tend to go with them over the authors one hour youtube opinion.

  • Nilanka15

    Waiters = Stuckey (snore)

    • Morgan

      I read that worst-case scenario, Waiters=Smush Parker…..yeah, Smush Parker, that really is the worst of worst cases lol.

  • Nilanka15

    Someone in the forum suggested that perhaps Phoenix was the one who made a promise to Waiters, with a pre-conceived plan already in place to trade with Toronto (in a deal that involves Nash).

    Toronto drafts Waiters, and immediately ships him and Calderon to Phoenix in exchange for the 13th pick, and a re-signed Nash.

    It sounds so crazy, it just might work 😉

    • c_bcm

      Interesting proposal. Then draft Kendall Marshall with 13. Nash + Marshall has been my favorite outcome for this draft since the lottery results were in. 

      I somehow feel that Phoenix could get more from a Nash S&T though

      • Nilanka15

        Well, Nash does have say in the matter.  He doesn’t have to agree to a S&T at all.

        The 8th pick and Calderon is pretty good compared to losing Nash for nothing.

        • WhiteVegas

          Nash is unrestricted so there is nothing stopping him from signing with teams with cap space (i.e. Phoenix has no say in the matter). Phoenix has the option to facilitate a sign and trade if Nash wants them to and that’s it.
          The reason a trade like this might happen is that in order for Toronto to take on Nash at the expected 3 years $30 million, we have to unload Calderon for no salary in return (we need the cap space for a SF and we’re not paying $20M for 2 PG). We could do that through amnesty or trade. So we’d essentially be swapping picks with Phoenix in exchange for preserving our amnesty provision by taking on Calderon’s contract. Phoenix definitely gets the better end of that deal unless we are for sure using our amnesty clause. I’d like it a lot better if Phoenix was including a future protected 1st, or a future option to swap draft picks (seems fair right?).
          Otherwise I’d just as soon use the Amnesty on Calderon. He’d be picked up by someone for at least half his contract off amnesty waivers, so the Raps would be out $5M but they wouldn’t have to swap draft picks. I also think there are other takers for Calderon who could meet our needs of not taking back salary that would offer at least a second round pick.

  • Andre

    I finally agree with this blog on something! NO WAITERS!

  • RaptorFan

    I’ll pass on Waiters……from what i’ve seen from him…..NOT that impressed at all!!…..does anyone on here even care to see his measurements from the combine or any workouts???  oh right….  what’s his vertical or reach or speed??  RED FLAGS 

  • Bendit

    Just want to reiterate..the pots and pans are getting louder each day. Deals like the Wiz/Hornets can happen again and upset the narrative. Fun isnt it?

  • Destro

    Simplest counter argument on Waiters IF he so good and touted NOW
    Why wasnt he starting on his college team ?

    • David Helm

       +1, Marvin Williams argument…

    • c_bcm

      I agree. Another ding ding on the spidey senses. Leads me to believe this is a misdirection that the media has picked up on, and the GM’s are probably loving the ridiculous coverage he is getting now.

  • hater

    congrats to lebron and the miami heat, best team in the world led by the best player in the world…. even though I dont really mean it.

  • Pissed off

    Why even have a team in a five elite team league nba fuckin sucks

    • gordon

      Exactly, the lockout solved nothing, this league is 4-5 teams deep, maybe less.  Stern fucked up the NBA and it’s a shitty product now, the league is bullshit

      • mountio

        The league is awesome. These playoffs were amazing .. and 2 out of the top 4 teams are from markets much smaller / less attractive than Toronto. Dont hate the league because our team cant get its act together. We have every opportunity to succeed in this league, we just have to go out and do it.
        And, if you didnt find these playoffs entertaining, not sure what you were watching ..  

        • Nilanka15


          The voice of reason.

        • gordon

          I didn’t say the playoffs werent entertaining and I didnt say I hate it because our team cant get its act together. putting words in my mouth.