Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters hasn’t gotten much love lately, despite a great first year in South Beach and decent preseason performances.
There’s no denying that Waiters Island exists. It absolutely does. The only issue is, there’s not as many inhabitants, as we originally thought.
Where is the love?
Dion Waiters is starting his second year with the Miami Heat, and his third chance at redemption with a new team. After less than memorable stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he was overshadowed first by Lebron James and then Kevin Durant, he now has a chance to prove that Miami is where he really belongs.
He did a fine job his first year in, averaging 15.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.
In fact, if it wasn’t for his season-ending injury, Miami would have made the postseason.
So now, in his second year, why is the league still mum about Waiters and the impact he is going to make?
With a projected breakthrough season coming up, the former Syracuse-standout knows he needs to take the reigns and deliver. A Philly-swag player with tremendous upside, he can absolutely both make a name for himself with the Heat, and help the team stand out in the Eastern Conference.
Especially with clutch game-winners like these.
Not convinced yet?
Let’s take a gander at his productivity throughout the years. The No. 4 pick in the 2012 draft, Waiters started off averaging 14.7 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game. His +/- was a staggering -1.8, with no opportunity to rise.
Since then, he has left his rookie numbers behind and developed both offensively and defensively, increasing his stat intake by two points and one assist per game. Doesn’t necessarily scream All-Star caliber numbers, but it does prove that he just needed a change of pace to really stand on his own.
With a solid collective group now here in Miami, the Philly-native now has the blueprint to really succeed. His confidence, as high as it already was before entering the league, is now through the roof. And rightfully so. He has that Mamba mentality and just wants to quiet critics everywhere.
“Everybody from my childhood growing up had to have that confidence, that self-will,” Waiters said in an interview with Bleacher Report.
His philosophy is “bet on yourself, then double down.” And after signing a 4-year, 52 million dollar contract, he intends to do just that.
Even if fans around the league and even some of Heat Nation, aren’t all in yet.
Waiters doesn’t mind. Because there’s no denying his talent. So while he knows he has an uphill battle in front of him, he loves being in that position.
So far in four preseason contests, the 25-year-old has averaged 10.0 points, 2.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists a game. Finishing with 17 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals against the Orlando Magic. And 14 points, 4 rebounds and 8 assists versus the Charlotte Hornets. Pretty decent numbers, for someone still nursing an ankle injury.
Don’t doubt Waiters, Heat fans. At least, not yet.