Dion Waiters, who didn’t fit with the Cavaliers’ starting lineup, was pulled from the Cavaliers’ starting lineup.
That we reached this point is no surprise, probably not even to Cleveland coach David Blatt, who gave Waiters a chance after the guard campaigned for the starting job.
With LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, the Cavaliers need someone who makes open jumpers and doesn’t dominate the ball. That’s never been Waiters.
But will it become Waiters?
So when Waiters stayed behind after the team’s morning shootaround Tuesday and worked out for another 40 minutes, after the bus and rest of the players were long gone, it wasn’t surprising to watch him working primarily on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers. Yet when I asked him about focusing on that this season, he dismissed it.
“That’s not my game,” he said. “I can do it, but you know what I’m effective at: pick-and-roll and things like that.”
Waiters is most comfortable creating with the ball in his hands. It’s understandable he wants to stick to that style.
But he needs to realize he’s not good enough for a team – especially these superstar-laden Cavaliers – to tilt its offense solely to maximize his production. At his level, his job is to complement his team’s other, better players.
That’s what’s so frustrating about Waiters’ approach. Everyone knows spotting up won’t come seamlessly for him. But he seems to be one of the last people to realize that trying to do so anyway is necessary for his career.
And he’s probably not as ill-suited to fill that role as he believes. Waiters made 43 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3-pointers last year. Obviously, he was selective about taking them, but that high percentage is encouraging.
No, catching and shooting is not Waiters’ game. But if he wants to start again, he should work on making it his game.