One of the New York Knicks main strengths is shooting guard. However, the offense is struggling and Carmelo Anthony is searching for another scoring punch outside of Andrea Bargnani. There's something to be said for adding youth and skill no matter where you can get it. The Cleveland Cavaliers are rumored to be open to trading the very skilled Dion Waiters and the Knicks have been mentioned as one of the interested teams. Should Steve Mills try to make a swap to add another Syracuse Orangeman to the roster?
Dion Waiters is a 6'4", 225 pound point guard/shooting guard from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was selected fourth overall in the 2012 NBA Draft out of Syracuse University by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2013.
Despite not starting in college and playing in a zone defensive system, Waiters has transitioned to the NBA nicely. He has some very promising point guard skills but has found a home in the NBA as a shooting guard. That's partly because of his obvious scoring skills and also because he was drafted by a team with one of the best young point guards in the league, Kyrie Irving.
Waiters is still only 21 years old and Waiters started 48 games for the Cavaliers his rookie season. Waiters proved to be a valuable second scoring option, averaging 14.7 points per game that season.
Sources: Cavs shopping Dion Waiters. They've spoken w/Chi, NYK & Philly. No deal imminent. Waiters is open to being traded.— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) November 27, 2013
Waiters isn't known for his jump shot but there are very few guards who can split defenders and get to the basket as well as he can. That being said, his efficiency from the field has shown steady improvement.
His blend of size and athleticism allows him to score from multiple areas on the court. With his improved efficiency and high skill level there's really nothing holding Waiters back from being a top scorer in this league for years.
When it comes to his passing skills, he's shown the ability to do what is asked of him. However, like most young guards, he needs to work on his decision-making. He simply tries to force passes he shouldn't. That being said, he can make the tough pass when needed.
This is an area he'll need to improve on but his natural progression should take care of that part of his game. Remember, he hasn't been asked to run the offense in Cleveland. He's playing off-guard next to Irving who takes care of setting up the offense. That being said, Waiter's passing skills shouldn't be considered a weakness but just a skill with room for improvement.
Defensively, Waiters has translated to the NBA Level very nicely despite his background in a zone system. Waiters has the ability to defend either guard position.
While Waiters has the skills to keep shooting guards in check he thrives guarding smaller point guards. He uses his physical play to hinder their offensive attack. Guarding point guards has been a major weakness of the Knicks and Waiters could certainly help them in that area.
The one area he needs to work on his his tendency to fall back to his zone ways and leave shooters too open. He can get caught away from his man when opponents move the ball around the perimeter. However, that's something he can improve on with experience and coaching.
Overall, there is no reason why Waiters can't develop into a star on the NBA level. He's an outstanding scorer, his passing and defense are already adequate and his potential is high.
At 21 year old, Waiters could develop to the level of a James Harden-type player. Looking at him now, you'd think the Cavaliers would want to keep him as their starting shooting guard for years to come. However, if they are willing to give him up, the Knicks absolutely need to take advantage and add him to their roster.
Yes the Knicks have Iman Shumpert but he can play both shooting guard and small forward. Tim Hardaway Jr. can do the same. Toure Murry can play point guard or shooting guard. Adding Waiters, who can also play either guard position, could only help ensure a bright future backcourt in New York.
For a team like the Knicks that struggle covering point guards and shoot far too many jump shots, adding a player like Waiters makes a lot of sense. If Steve Mills can work out a package that doesn't sacrifice too much youth it's something they really need to think about.
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