5. Dion Waiters
Dion Waiters has been in the news for the wrong reasons of late, as he was recently suspended and unable to lace up his basketball shoes due to laced gummies he ate off the court (sorry but it was just too tempting). It doesn’t stop there, as the 28-year-old also offered criticism of his then head coach Erik Spoelstra, who is a two-time champion.
It’s a shame he’s forced the conversation to be entirely about his off the court antics because he’s been shooting lights out from deep for the last two years. Although its an incredibly small sample size, Waiters is shooting 47 percent from long-range this season, which is simply unheard of.
The 28-year-old guard also shot 37.7 percent from deep during the 2018-19 season and would fit in perfectly in Mike D’Antoni‘s system, which would encourage him to fire away from downtown. Waiters is a career 13.2 point scorer, which would give the Rockets great production off the bench.
At 6-foot-3, Waiters’ doesn’t move the needle from the size standpoint, but we all know Mike D’Antoni doesn’t care about size as he’s gone all in on small-ball. Waiters’ presence would give the Rockets a reliable option when Eric Gordon is either unhealthy (which has been the case of late) or when he’s in a slump, which we’ve also seen this season from EG.
The question regarding the former Syracuse standout is whether or not he’s his motivated, as he’s seemed to lack that at times. But when he is motivated, like he was during his contract year in 2016-17, he can certainly play. During that season, Waiters averaged 15.8 points and 4.3 assists per game, and helped the Heat go on a 23-5 streak at the end of the season to get them into the playoffs.
Waiters shot 39.5 percent from deep during that season and had a career-year from a player efficiency standpoint. The Rockets will have to move quickly if they are interested in the eight-year guard, as it’s been reported that the Los Angeles Lakers are interested in his services and are planning on meeting with him, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
If he is brought to the Houston Rockets, he’d have to be on a short leash, which wouldn’t be a problem for general manager Daryl Morey, who has shown a willingness to pull the plug on an experiment he feels is heading in the wrong direction (as he did with Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony).
The Rockets would present Waiters with his best championship opportunity to date, so you’d have to think he’d be trying to make it work, if signed. Not to mention the fact that he’d essentially be vying for another long-term contract, as was the case in 2016-17 when he had his best season.
Next: No. 4