In his final 20 games last season, Dion Waiters averaged 17.1 points per game, shot 40.7 percent from three, and the team was +5.7 per 48 minutes he was on the court. Waiters was a key reason the Heat turned the season around in the second half (just missing out on the playoffs).
Miami rewarded him with a four-year, $52 million contract.
This season Waiters is averaging 15 points a game on 39 percent shooting overall and 31.1 percent from three. The Heat are outscored by 5.3 points per 100 possessions when he is on the court, and he is not lifting up a Miami offense that is 27th in the NBA this season.
“He has to be more efficient,” coach Erik Spoelstra said Tuesday. “He knows that. He has the ball in his hands quite a bit. There has to be more commitment to get him open and get him into the paint and he has to be more committed to making the right plays and not just settling for low percentage pull ups, particularly when they’re contested and particularly when there’s more time on the clock to explore more options of our offense.”
Consistency has never been a Waiters’ trademark. When he’s hot everyone wants to buy a condo on Waiters’ Island, but there are some cold winters there.
Waiters is shooting more threes this season, particularly above the break threes, and he’s hitting just 30 percent of them. Spoelstra wasn’t kidding about pull-up jumpers, they account for 32.9 percent of his shots total, and from three he is hitting 27 percent on them. But he keeps firing away — Waiters has never seen a shot he doesn’t like. Spoelstra wants his other Heat shooters to be more aggressive, to shoot their shots, but he is asking Waiters to be a little smarter about his choices.