Dion Waiters likes the way things are going in Oklahoma City.
It’s no secret that I am NOT a fan of Oklahoma City guard Dion Waiters’ game. To me, Waiters is a ball-stopper and an inefficient chucker who will unconsciously launch the worst shot imaginable for your team. Since being traded from Cleveland to Oklahoma City, Waiters has been slightly more efficient in his five games with the Thunder, (14.4 points per game on 45% FG before his 1-of-9 stinker against the Miami Heat on Tuesday night.)
So what does Waiters credit his more effective play to? Waiters told Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman that it’s the Thunder’s willingness to share the ball with him that has him playing better basketball, something he believes the members of the Cavaliers were reluctant to do.
Waiters doesn’t hesitate to disclose the difference between his experience in Cleveland and Oklahoma City. After a 16-point performance Sunday at Orlando in which he made seven of nine shots, Waiters was asked what he’s learned so far about where his shots will come from and how he fit into the offense.
“Listen,” he said, “they give me the ball. Like, I touch the ball. Like, I actually, like, you know, touch the ball.”
“I’m able to feel the game out, knowing when to take the shot, when not to,” Waiters said. “Like I said, we got a great group of guys on this team who’s very unselfish and they want you to be successful. So I think I came into a great situation.”
It was the second time in less than a week that Waiters trumpeted the freedom the Thunder has given him.
Waiters may be surprised that this notion was proved to be false by John Schumann of NBA.com and Tom Haberstroh of ESPN.com.
Dion Waiters time of possession per 36 minutes on the floor. w/ CLE: 2:42 w/ OKC: 2:15
— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) January 20, 2015
— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) January 21, 2015
When things were rocky in Cleveland, Waiters served somewhat as a scapegoat for the Cavaliers. The Cavs were desperate for a 3-and-D wing, and Waiters proved that he wasn’t suitable for that type of role. Cavaliers management was tired of watching Waiters hoist up terrible shots and not fulfill their needs, so they decided to part ways with him.
Waiters may rue the Cavaliers and their decision to ship him out of Cleveland, so that’s why he’s speaking so highly of the Thunder. Kevin Durant has requested that Waiters’ locker be moved closer to his and Russell Westbrook’s, so it’s obvious that Waiters is getting acclimated to things very quickly in Oklahoma City. But even with the Thunder, some things for Waiters will never change.