The Cleveland Cavaliers have found a new star player to lead the team during their fight for the last playoff spot. Guard Dion Waiters has risen his game to a whole new level in the Cavs last 10 games.
On March 16, All-Star MVP point guard Kyrie Irving went down with a left bicep injury. Irving was forced to sit out for two weeks and just recently returned to the floor. When Irving went down, many thought this marked the end of the Cavs season. Waiters thought differently.
This season Waiters has averaged 15.7 points per game. Since March 18, he has averaged 22.5 points per game. Waiters was able to put up 30 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder and 26 points against the Houston Rockets in back-to-back games. When the Cavs needed a win to stay ahead the Detroit Pistons in the standings, Waiters delivered a game winning shot as time expired. Waiters’ unbelievable performances have taken the Cavs from six and a half games out of the playoff picture to just three games back.
No one predicted this second year player out of Syracuse to develop into a young star. When the Cavs drafted Waiters fourth overall in the 2012 NBA Draft, they quickly heard criticism for their surprising choice. Many experts believed Waiters, through experience, could develop into a solid role player after he multiple years in the league. Very few picked him to have this big an impact so fast.
Waiters’ journey in the NBA has not happened without a few speed bumps along the road. Earlier this season many people were speculating the Cavs were trying to get rid of Waiters. There were rumors spreading that Waiters was a problem in the locker room. It was even reported that he and Irving hated each other and were involved in a physical fight.
The Cavaliers quickly brushed those rumors under the rug, and asserted to everyone that Waiters and Irving were great teammates. After the rumored incident, the two were seen smiling on and off the court together. Irving even took to social media to compliment Waiters. And when Waiters hit his buzzer beater, who was the first person to run out onto the court to congratulate him? That is right, Irving.
With it clear now that those speculations were nothing more rumors, Waiters has been able to focus on his game. His elite play for the Cavs down the stretch has turned him into a hot commodity in the league. The ceiling for Waiters is high, way high.
When the Cavs drafted Waiters, they were hoping to complete their backcourt. The combo of Waiters and Irving provides the team with a one-two punch for a long time. Teams around the league should be scared for these two young stars future together, while Cavs’ fans should be rejoicing.