Dion Waiters is headed for the Thunder, and the question I have is, why? The Cleveland Cavaliers’ problem child has some solid attributes. He’s a shooter and a scorer, and a team always can use a shooter and a scorer. Waiters averaged 15.9 points a game last season and shot 36.8 percent from 3-point range.
Those numbers are down this season, with the transformed Cavs adding LeBron James and Kevin Love. Waiters is playing almost six minutes per game less than last season. He’s averaging 10.5 points and shooting just 25.6 percent from 3-point range.
But Waiters’ shooting will be fine. If he’ll take decent shots, his percentage will stabilize.
It’s Waiters’ defense that is a concern. He’s not been a good NBA defender, and on a good team, that won’t do. The Thunder already has some defensive liabilities coming off the bench — Reggie Jackson and Anthony Morrow — and adding another seems odd. Is the Thunder simply going to try outscore second units?
Of course, this trade might set up a future Jackson trade, so we’ll see how that pans out.
But it seems to me that the Thunder bench had plenty of scoring punch. Jackson, Morrow, Perry Jones III. Even Jeremy Lamb can get hot. It’s perimeter defense that is a question for the OKC bench. Dion Waiters doesn’t figure to change that. Maybe the Thunder has a master plan. But I’m anxious to discover what it is.