My reaction as a Heat fan: Blehjhghghgghhhh.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no personal vendetta against a fellow Philly native who was a really solid option during the playoffs.

2016 Playoffs (18 games, 27.3 minutes per game)
Stats: 8.4 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 2.3 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.2 BPG
Shooting Splits: .417/.375/.667

Though his overall FG% and FT% were underwhelming, he fulfilled his role as a 3-D guard off the bench.

Look at his regular season numbers. He played about the same amount of minutes but with a sample size over four times his playoff games. What we see isn’t as impressive.

2015-2016 Regular Season (78 games, 27.6 minutes a game)

Stats: 9.8 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.0 SPG. 0.2 BPG
Shooting Splits: .399/.358/.713

Notice how his FG% is sub 40% on a team that had Durant and Westbrook on it. Considering that the Thunder always had either Durant/Westbrook on the court, Dion’s shooting is rather bad when there are very potent offense threats that diverted attention from a third to fifth offensive option. Miami does not have a single top five player on the team, never mind two. I expect Waiters to get up more than the 9.1 shots a game he did last year, but it won’t be fun to watch. It’s fair to imagine the lack of efficiency that’ll be involved in those shots.

Speaking of a lack of efficiency… Dion Waiters is a terrible finisher at the rim and a sub-par mid range jump shooter.

0-6 feet (any shot): 119/246 = 48.4%
0-6 feet (lay-ups): 96/199 = 48.2%

So all those jokes about him missing wide open lay-ups were actually serious…

As I always do, I’m classifying the mid-range jumper as any two-point shot 15 to 22 feet away from the basket.

15-22 feet mid-range jumpers: 78/219 = 35.6%

To put this in perspective, he shot marginally better from behind the arc last season (35.8%). Which brings up my next complaint: Why is he attempting nearly as many mid-range jumpers (2.7) as he is three pointers (3.1)?! The mid-range jumper is the most inaccurate shot in basketball.

For anyone that’s crying out, “Another analytics guy!” or “Player X shoots them all the time and makes them!” understand that: (a) the data shows that the mid-range jumper truly is the least accurate shot in the NBA and (b) the players that we have seen shoot the shot frequently are some of the best at it in the game. Some examples are: Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving, Steph Curry, and Kevin Durant.

If he’s shooting better from three than he is from mid-range two, then he should focus on embracing the 3-D role he plays. Play defense, hustle, hang behind the arc, shoot your threes, cash out, repeat. It’s not that complicated. Instead, he’ll be begging for the ball, and when he doesn’t get it, you’ll see his reaction and know that he won’t try on defense anymore.

Let’s go full circle and focus on Dion’s contract for a second. It’s a one year, 2.9 million dollar deal. Ironically, he could have had more if he had taken the qualifying deal from his rookie contract.

He was expecting that in the open market he’d garner more than 6.8 million as a free agent. It’s sad to see that at 24 years old Dion has to do one of those one-year-bet-on-yourself deals. And, since he really is betting on himself, you can expect him to do whatever it takes on the Heat.

So that’s what Miami has to look forward to with Dion Waiters. His basketball IQ is very questionable, shot selection is iffy, and his finishing at the rim is awful. In a nutshell, Waiters is one of those “When he plays within himself,” guys. When he does play within himself, Dion is great. He takes good or great shots, hustles, plays really good defense, and hopefully makes his free throws. When he doesn’t… nothing is guaranteed. Since he is one of these types of guys, nothing was guaranteed anyway. Welp. Here’s to another Miami Heat season. I hope I don’t yank my eyes out.

(Stats from Basketball Reference)




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