The Los Angeles Lakers have an open roster spot to fill after waiving Troy Daniels and the frontrunner for the job is Dion Waiters.
It was reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin that former Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters would be working out with the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday. He and J.R. Smith are seemingly on the Lakers’ shortlist as they are the only two to have recently worked out with the team.
Between him and Smith, I would assume the team would go with Waiters if his workout goes well for a few reasons.
The first is Waiters is a much younger player than Smith, which means he can be effective for the team for a longer time than J.R. can. As a result of this, he can be a part of the team’s plans in the future. On top of this, because he is younger and more athletic, Waiters would be a better wing defender than Smith would be at this point in his career.
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This is necessary when looking at the teams the Lakers would hypothetically play in the West. Against an eighth-seeded New Orleans Pelicans, someone would have to guard Brandon Ingram, the Rockets have James Harden on the wing and the most difficult matchup of them all would be the Clippers, who have Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, who are both elite wing players.
If the Lakers do decide to sign Waiters it comes with a few risks. He can be a major problem in the locker room and bring unwanted headlines to the team. An example of this is missing a team event yet posting himself on a boat celebrating his birthday the same day while he was with the Heat.
Also while he was with the Heat, Waiters allegedly had an episode on a team plane after taking a marijuana edible. These problems and distractions could be harmful to a team as close and with the chemistry that the Lakers have.
On top of this, when they played together in Cleveland, Waiters and LeBron James did not mesh well on or off the court at all. This led to Waiters being traded to the New York Knicks shortly after LeBron rejoined the Cavaliers.
However, if he was signed, he would come off the bench or even start in place of Rajon Rondo or Avery Bradley. As a starter, he would most likely be limited to a spot-up shooter, while as a bench player, he would have more opportunities to be a ball-handler and play a style of basketball that he is more comfortable with.
I believe that Waiters, barring any off the court issues, would be a great acquisition for the Los Angeles Lakers and could come up clutch in a playoff scenario.