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Dion Waiters: 2012 NBA Draft Scouting Report

April 25, 2012

Dion Waiters

6-4 shooting guard
215 pounds

NBA Projections as of April 24, 2012 – 19th overall – 23rd overall
ESPN’s Chad Ford – 15th overall Prediction as of April 25, 2012

Dion Waiters is my sleeper pick in this draft.  His game translates very well in the NBA.  I think he has a huge upside with the maximum potential as a Dwayne Wade clone, which he will likely not reach.  Instead, I predict that he will be a 18 to 20 points, 4 to 5 assists type of player for about 5 to 7 seasons likely beginning his 3rd year as a professional.  I would select him in the top 10 of the NBA Draft at the very least.

Here is a short summary on why I made this prediction.  See Scouting Criteria page for my definitions and examples of each category.

Aggressiveness – High
Ability to Create Shots – High, best in the draft
Performance Against Top Players and Teams – Moderate
Mental Make-up – Moderate, lack of passion for the game

Mental Make-up

Score: Moderate

See Waiting his turn: Dion Waiters not giving up after up-and-down freshman year to understand Waiter’s more.

The Bad: Waiters came to Syracuse expecting to start, basically with a sense of entitlement.  He arrived overweight and didn’t seem like he understood what college basketball was all about. During his freshman year, he was very inconsistent offensively as he did not respond well coming off the bench with no defined minutes.

As mentioned in the prediction section above, Waiters has superstar potential.  What holds him back is his lack of passion to be great.  How can a player that commits to Syracuse as a freshman acknowledge that he never knew Carmelo went to Syracuse and didn’t really follow college basketball be considered passionate for the game?

The Great: I love how he responded to his difficult freshman year. Instead of transferring, Waiters stuck it out and thrived in his sophomore year.  He came prepared for the season by practicing even harder and eating right during the offseason. He accepted his coming off the bench and jelled with the team.

The Question: We know that he will responded well to adversity.  The question is will he consistently work hard in the offseason and remain focused? In my opinion, for the most part he will, but I expect some slip-ups occasionally.  For example, I think he is the type of player that will struggle in a strike-shortened season because he didn’t really stay in shape during the offseason.

Performance against the best teams and players

Score: Moderate

Looking at his game log in close games and NCAA tournament games, he seemed inconsistent.  It seemed like a function of his minutes, as he is a player that comes off the bench and averages only 24 minutes in a Syracuse team full of decent guards.

Ability to Create Shots

Score: High

This is my favorite part of Dion Waiters’ game.  In terms of getting to the basket, he is the best player in this draft.  He gets to the foul line.  His turnovers per minute are relatively low for a player that drives to the basket a high percentage of the time he is on the floor.  He shows the ability to drive and kick to the open man.  One thing I would like to see him improve on is his ability to finish around the basket.


Score: High

He is a very aggressive player but does it within the flow of the offense for the most part.  He averages more shots and assists per 30 minutes than some of the higher rated two guard prospects in this draft.  See table below.  The only caveat to this table is that Beal and Rivers were freshman compared to Waiters and Lamb who were both sophomores.  If Beal and Rivers were to come back, the aggression numbers would likely rise with Rivers being the most aggressive of the bunch.

Player Avg FGA Avg FTA AST TO
Dion Waiters 12.0 4.0 3.1 1.6
Brad Beal 9.3 4.1 1.9 1.8
Jeremy Lamb 10.8 2.9 1.4 1.6
Austin Rivers 10.7 4.9 1.9 2.1
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From → 2012 NBA Draft

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