There are plenty of skeptics when it comes to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ selection of Dion Waiters with the 4th overall pick in Thursday night’s NBA draft. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim is not one of them. Despite a lot of anger and disappointment from Cavs fans, Boeheim told CBS New York’s Jon Rothstein that those fears are unfounded:
“He’s more ready for the NBA than any other guard I’ve ever had,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said of the 6-foot-4, 215 pound Waiters on Tuesday. “Nobody will be able to guard him one on one unless their last name is Westbrook. He’ll go by anyone he faces. Dion started out the draft process at 25 or 30 and has risen dramatically. It should come as no surprise, he’s got all the tools.”
Not that the list of Syracuse guards in the NBA is all that impressive1, but this is still high praise from a coach with whom Waiters had his share of run ins with in his two seasons at Syracuse.
Another underrated aspect of Waiters’ game is his NBA-ready frame. While some fans have expressed concern over Waiters’ height at the SG position, Boeheim feels his body type will be an asset at the next level:
“It’s huge,” Boeheim said in reference to Waiters’ physical attributes. “You look at some players in college and they’re good players but they’re not physically ready for the next level. That’s something that doesn’t affect Dion. He’s more than ready in that aspect and he’s also ready to play with other good players because he played at Syracuse. People sometimes say if you play at a lesser program and put up better numbers that it’s better for your chances in the NBA but that’s not the truth. In the NBA, you have be able to co-exist with other great players. Dion’s already done that.”
Boeheim may be a little biased when it comes to Waiters, but that doesn’t make him wrong. Despite Cleveland fans’ obvious let down factor over not getting Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Bradley Beal, the fact remains that with those guys off the board, Waiters was arguably the next best wing player available to the Cavaliers. Several analysts and draft pundits have had nothing but good things to say about the Cavaliers’ pick of Dion Waiters. Jim Boeheim would agree with them.
- no offense to Jonny Flynn [↩]