The final player that will be covered in the “Los Angeles Lakers Player Spotlight” series is Dion Waiters.
One of the newest members of the Los Angeles Lakers, Dion Waiters, attended the University of Syracuse before he made the jump to the NBA. In his two seasons with the Orange, Waiters interestingly did not start in a single game of his college career. However, he still averaged 12.6 points and 1.5 steals in his final season.
This was enough for the Cleveland Cavaliers to draft Waiters fourth overall in the 2012 NBA Draft. Dion only spent two full seasons with the Cavs where he was emerging as a budding scorer. However, his game did not mesh well with LeBron James. So shortly after the return of the King to Cleveland, Waiters was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
In the rest of the 2014-2015 season and the next year with the Thunder, Dion was pushed back to a bench role. This caused his numbers to greatly diminish and the team would let him walk in free agency after this season.
Waiters signed with the Heat and played his way to a second contract with the Heat. Despite this, his time with the team was a bit disappointing. He never played a full 82 game season with the Heat due to injury and disciplinary issues. It would be those issues that got him cut from the team.
The last straw came in the 2019-2020 season when Waiters skipping a team event due to an illness, yet posted himself on a yacht the same day. Also, a team plane was forced to be ground after Waiters had a bad trip off of a marijuana edible. Once he was released from the team, the Lakers jumped on the opportunity to sign him to the team.
Strengths And Weaknesses
Waiters is a pure scorer offensively. He is an efficient shooter from three but he at times does struggle when finishing at the rim. However, Dion has games where he is on a hot streak and cannot be stopped from anywhere on the court and other games where he can not put the ball in the hoop. On the defensive side of the ball, Waiters is very streaky. At times he can be lock up he defensive assignment but others he is an absolute liability on the defensive end.
What He Brings To The Team
While Waiters has not yet got the chance to suit up for the Lakers, there is a lot he can bring to the team depending on his attitude and his shooting. If he fits in with the team as well as every other player the team has signed has, then there should be absolutely no off the court problems from Waiters.
However, if he continues to do the same things that got him cut from Miami, Waiters could be enough to kill the chemistry that has made the Lakers the number one team in the Western Conference.
On the court, if Waiters is on one of his extended hot streaks he could be enough of an X-factor to make a serious difference in the Lakers winning a title or not. However, if he is not shooting well he will be a liability on the court and likely would just be benched.