The Cavs are on a 6 game loosing streak, headed into tonight's game against the Bucks. The Cavaliers have really been struggling on both ends of the floor during the streak and have lost the last 3 games by double figures to decent opponents but not the likes of a Miami, New York or Oklahoma City. Surely they have been winnable games. The production on offense is primarily the burden of Kyrie , Waiters and Anderson Varejao .
We all know what Kyrie and Varejao are capable of and what their impact level is on games, but we are unable to definitively say that for Waiters. We have some examples of course earlier in the season, most notably the November 5th game against the Clippers. Dion went 10 for 17 shooting 7 of 11 from beyond the arc to give him a season and career high of 28pts. These types of shooting nights are not going to be the norm for Waiters though. Watching the Cavs, in particular Waiters I always have urges to shout at the TV "take it , he can't guard you" but far too often Waters settles for a pull up jay that sometimes he makes and others he doesn't.
(Waiters has been most effective off high ball screen, on his dominant hand, which gets him in the middle of the court/paint to create)
I think for the Cavs to be successful and receive consistent offensive contribution from Waiters is an aggressive attacking Dion. He sites Allen Iverson as his favorite player and someone he emulates. People make or have made comparisons of his game to that of Dwayne Wade That's cool and all but those guys are attacking guards and made their names by getting to the paint and finishing. Now he does have moments where he puts up a ton of shots in a short period of time a la Allen Iverson. But Allen Iverson is 13th in the NBA all time for Free throw attempts, Dwayne Wade is 58th respectively...so they get to the line and often. Dion is averaging about 2.9 free throw attempts per, which means he draws shooting fouls or gets to the stripe once maybe 2 times a game. That is not enough at all, he needs at least 6 to 8 attempts per game , I think to be a consistent scoring threat for the Cavs. Now since he returned on December 1st I have noticed he has been making for of an effort to get to the basket, but he often struggles to finish either by not going strong and getting his shocked blocked or he gets fouled and because he is a rookie it may or may not be called and he gets discouraged and does not attack much after. He needs to attack regardless of if he is getting the call or not. Eventually he will gain respect from the referees and start getting more calls. Right now he looks to come off screens or split traps and give some hesitation moves and go for a pull up; teams are catching on and getting their hands on the ball when he tries to split or force him into tough jumpshots.
(Waiters can have his way and attack the basket at ease, as he has a great first step, no screen needed. He can go left or right but often goes left)
Waiters point production is going to be needed in order for the Cavs to start winning more games, and I think the only way to make that happen is if he starts attack the basket more and getting easy ones from the charity stripe. My thinking is if he gets more free throws and has a chance at seeing the ball go in the basket, this will help him get in a rhyme and knock down more of his jumpers. If he does not start to grasp this concept , his entire career will be filled with inconsistency, where some night he has 30 others he has 6 or 8. Unless he turns into some type of sharp shooter but I doubt that happens. On the bright side, Dion is only a rookie, he just turned 21 and has time to learn and find out what works for him. As fans we can only support and hope he has success.