This is the first installment of a four part series in which we will look at each of the Syracuse players in this year’s NBA Draft. First up is super-sub Dion Waiters…
Name– Dion Waiters
Height – 6’4’’
Weight – 220
Position – SG
Class – Sophomore
Hometown – Philadelphia, PA
2011-2012 Statistics – 12.6 PPG, 2.5 APG, 2.3 RPG, 1.8 SPG
Dion Waiters arrived in Chicago on Wednesday afternoon for the NBA Draft Combine and apparently he liked what he heard because the very next day, with several interviews and workouts still scheduled, he left and went back home to Philadelphia.
Draft insiders immediately began to speculate that his sudden departure could only mean one thing; a promise. A promise from a lottery team that they would select him with their pick. Now the debate has begun as to which team assured Waiters they would take him, with the most popular candidates being the Toronto Raptors (8th pick), Phoenix Suns (13th pick), and Portland Trailblazers (6th and 11th picks).
This news comes as a surprise to some, considering that Dion never started a single game during his two-year career at Syracuse, in addition to struggling during his small amount of playing time freshman year. However anyone who watched him on a consistent basis this past season knows what they saw in Waiters and that was a superstar waiting to break out.
Even though Jim Boeheim never unleashed him so that we all could see what he was really capable of, Waiters still was named the Big East Sixth Man of the Year. His impressive performance in the NCAA Tournament caused him to rapidly rise up draft boards and now it appears as though he could be a top ten pick.
Some draft analysts have stated that aside from first overall pick Anthony Davis, Dion possesses the greatest potential to be a superstar at the next level. Because of his athleticism, ability to get to the basket and highlight reel plays, he has often been compared to Dwyane Wade, although no one is projecting him to be the caliber of player that Wade is.
Waiters still has a lot to work on if he wishes to become an elite player in the NBA. He needs to solidify his on ball defense after spending his entire college career playing in the famed 2-3 zone of Syracuse and he must be able to find more consistency with his shooting. If Dion is able to do those two things it won’t be surprising to see him become a multiple time All Star in the pros.
Draft Prediction – 8th overall pick to Toronto. I see no reason why Waiters would have stopped all his pre-draft meetings unless he were assured of becoming a top ten pick and Toronto is in desperate need of a franchise player after losing Chris Bosh to Miami a few summers ago, something that Dion can provide them if he realizes his true potential.