After an outstanding sophomore season at Syracuse that had many analysts talking about him as one of the best guards in the country, Dion Waiters decided the time was right to test his talents and make the jump to the NBA. The Philly native was a beast as a sixth man, averaging 12.6 points on nearly 48 percent shooting to help lead the Orange to the Elite 8 last season, and after his stock steadily rose during the draft process, Cleveland took him higher than anyone expected. He kept a diary with us throughout the weeks leading up to the NBA Draft, and plans to check in with us often throughout this upcoming season to talk about life as a rookie, the NBA grind, and his favorite things to do off the court…
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I’m just working right now. That’s the biggest thing. I’m now back in shape. I’m back in shape a lot. I’ve lost a lot of weight. I’m more active. Before the draft, I really didn’t have to do anything. That hurt me a little bit, but I have no excuses. Like I said, what happened is what happened. But I’m back in shape, and I can’t wait to get back out there and show everyone the real me. I ain’t worried about it.
I got a diet, too. I’m trying to eat better and healthier. It’s about eating healthy, and actually eating more.
As far as on the court, at Syracuse, I played with the ball a lot, and when I played off the ball, it was usually to set up the play and then I’d get it back. But I can play off the ball. Kyrie and I haven’t really talked yet about how we’re going to play together. We already know what to expect from each other. It’s about building that chemistry now, and just really knowing the spots where we like the ball.
The coaches told me I’m going to run a lot of pick-n-rolls, and be someone who can take some of the pressure off Kyrie. Being able to run pick-n-rolls is one of my strongest attributes. It’ll benefit me. They pretty much want me to play my game, and that’s what it’s all about.
But I gotta get ready to guard the bigger two guards. I haven’t played against anybody. I haven’t gone against a Kobe or a D-Wade or any player like that. But at the end of the day, it comes down to being able to tell yourself that it’s real and you needs stops. I can’t wait for the challenge. I’m ready for it.
I really haven’t picked up any defensive tricks from the veterans yet but I picked up a lot of things where they could help me and benefit me on the court from a lot of those guys. I try to talk to them if I can. I ask them questions and try to find ways to better myself.