Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman was able to catch up with Dion Waiters over this summer break. There's a ton of valuable info in Mayberry's article, so be sure to check it out. Here are the main points, though:
- Dion Waiters has lost 10 pounds, and plans to lose more.
- Dion is working on his catch-and-shoot skills and his ability to shoot off the dribble. Dion is also working on his post-up game and finishing ability.
- Dion is still waiting to train with Kobe, but it's still on track to happen.
- Dion believes next season is championship or bust.
I feel like this update is all good news. Waiters is listed at 6'4", 210 pounds. For comparison, Russell Westbrook is listed at 6'3", 187 pounds. If Dion can get to somewhere around Russell's weight, perhaps he could tap into some extra athleticism.
It's encouraging to hear that Waiters is working on his catch and shoot game. That was, by far, the area we needed Waiters to improve on last season. But it's a bit concerning to hear Waiters bookending his "catch and shoot" training with "off the dribble" training. Dion had some terrible shot selection last year, and was generally effective from mid-range. Why not work on decision making or defense instead?
Dion's next set of skills to refine are equally encouraging and perplexing. Finishing ability is something Dion definitely needs to improve on. But a post-up game? Why? Posting up is already a hard way to get points in today's NBA as a guard. With Dion's weight loss, you'd expect him to improve on the dribble-drive instead. Or maybe even the stepbacks he's so fond of. To me, it's almost like a big man gaining 10 pounds while simultaneously working on his floaters. Still, Waiters is going to meet Kobe at some point this Summer, and Kobe made a name for himself with a post up game.
In any case, I'm just glad to hear that Dion generally knows what areas of his game were lacking last season. Waiters will almost certainly have less offensive responsibility next year. That means Waiters will have more of an opportunity to let the game come to him, and play in a different way. As long as Dion's skills are there, he should find a way to flourish.