Apr 12, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters (3) reacts in the second quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers: The Dion Waiters Dilemma

Every offseason brings with it a certain amount of the unknown as each team approaches things differently.  A player that might have great value to one team, could have absolutely no value to another (for example, who would have imagined that Ben Gordon would be able to get $4.5-million annually?) and a new signing might entirely change the dynamics of any team.

This unknown element is exactly what draws people to sports … the excitement that it feels almost like anything can happen.  We as fans desire for a shot to be in the air, and to fall through the net just as the buzzer goes just in time to win the game.

What a rush!

Even though the offseason doesn’t have the same definitive moment in time that game action does, it is riddled with many different possibilities.  From the draft, to free agency, to front office and coaching changes … hundreds of moments that leave us wondering.

Which is exactly what happened the moment that David Griffin started sharing his vision for the newest Cavalier, Andrew Wiggins.

It was just a few years ago that the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Dion Waiters with the fourth overall pick of the draft, ahead of players like Damian Lillard, Harrison Barnes, and Andre Drummond (how good would Drummond look alongside Irving and Wiggins?).

Although his transition to the NBA has at times been challenging, Waiters’ talent has never been questioned.  He brings an impressive combination of athleticism, shooting, and potential, and improved his shooting accuracy during his second year in the league (although this is slightly diminished by a decreased free throw percentage):


Dion Waiters' 2012-2013 Shot Chart (Photo Credit: NBA.com/Stats)

Dion Waiters’ 2012-2013 Shot Chart (Photo Credit: NBA.com/Stats)


Dion Waiters' 2013-2014 Shot Chart (Photo Credit: NBA.com/Stats)

Dion Waiters’ 2012-2013 Shot Chart (Photo Credit: NBA.com/Stats)

But that is just part of the picture.  In general, Waiters’ stats during his second year looked almost identical to those of his rookie year.

2012-13 61 48 28.8 13.4 .412 3.3 .310 3.5 .746 2.4 3.0 1.0 0.3 2.0 1.9 14.7
2013-14 70 24 29.6 14.2 .433 3.6 .368 3.4 .685 2.8 3.0 0.9 0.2 2.2 2.2 15.9
Career 131 72 29.2 13.8 .424 3.5 .342 3.4 .714 2.6 3.0 0.9 0.3 2.1 2.0 15.3
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/3/2014.

Outside of nearly doubling his already terrible defensive win shares (from 0.9 to 1.6), Waiters showed just moderate improvement at best.  This, coupled with his rumored disagreements with Kyrie Irving, and the drafting of a new shooting guard, has put serious question into what his future may be in Cleveland.

Next summer also marks the Cavaliers’ first opportunity to offer Waiters a contract extension.  This doesn’t mean that they necessarily will offer an extension; but if he is still on the roster at this point next year, it would give a good idea of how he is viewed within the organization.

That is, of course, if he is still in Cleveland.

Waiters could very easily continue to fulfill is role of first guard off the bench, while also sharing the floor with Wiggins at times.  If the Cavaliers do not explore trade opportunities, that is most certainly the role for the front office expects from Waiters.

But with enough potential to attract trade suitors, an extension pending, and a new promising prospect at his position, it may be only a matter of time before Waiters finds himself on the outside looking in.

Tags: Andrew Wiggins Cleveland Cavaliers Dion Waiters

  • BA1234

    As a Cavs fan, I’d be fine with keeping Waiters on the team. Wiggins will start at either 2 or 3. If Waiters comes off the bench, he’s a great sixth man. Nothing wrong with having a player like that come off the bench if Cleveland…eh hem…is interested in trying for a championship. Heck, look at Manu for the Spurs, he comes off the bench. We need talented players who are willing to work together and not worried about who starts or gets the most shots, but that want to WIN. Yes…maybe we can say Cleveland and Win in the same sentence!

    • Matt Shantz

      If it weren’t for his upcoming extension, I couldn’t agree more. It seems to be that Waiters is going to have high expectations for his upcoming salary, and that doesn’t match-up with his current developmental track.

      But yes, it is certainly an exciting prospect to use “win” and “Cleveland” in the same sentence…hopefully soon!