ESPN.com
ESPN.com

 

Third year Cavalier guard Dion Waiters has been the most scrutinized player on the team, really since the beginning of his career, here in Cleveland. Many criticized his selfishness as he really lacked the ability to pass the basketball. Additionally, his perceived “I, instead of We” attitude was disliked by the Cavalier faithful. Finally, reports surfaced that there were issues in the Cavaliers locker room and that there was an obvious rift between Waiters and star point guard Kyrie Irving.

Dion has been on the “trade block” for as long as I can remember.

With all of the great additions to the Cavaliers squad this year, it’s been much of the same for the former Syracuse Orangeman. Originally a starter, Waiters was demoted to the role of six man after the team’s early struggles this year. He continued to take bad shots and lacked any intensity on the defensive side of the ball. We saw flashes of greatness, like we always do with Dion, but no sort of sustained consistency to start this year.

And then, in front of royalty, there was Monday night in Brooklyn.

Coming off the bench, Waiters was absolutely electric. He quickly got involved in the offense, not just with a poor shot selection. Early in the second quarter, Waiters made a sweet pass to the recently surging James Jones who knocked down a big three. Then, Waiters had a slick dime to Anderson Varejao for an easy layup.

After creatively involving himself in the offense and maintaining good energy on the defense end, it allowed Waiters to truly open up his scoring. His jump shot looked pure, his drives to the hoop were ferocious and his activity in the transition game allowed for him to sneak past the Brooklyn defense for a couple of easy lay-ins/dunks.

26 points and 4 assists in total for Dion Waiters. That 26 is more points than the Cavaliers bench has scored in 12 of their games as a whole.

So now the question is should we trade Dion Waiters?

Admittedly, I have called for a Waiters trade when the team was struggling. But on the defensive end as a whole, the Cavaliers have been playing awesome during this seven game winning streak. Only allowing over 100 points one time, coach David Blatt is breeding the defensive intensity with the team we have.

I know it’s only one game, but if Waiters continues to play well of the bench, is it necessary to trade him? Everyone was begging for a rim protector during the team’s struggles but now it seems as if the Cavaliers have figured it out defensively. Even if their interior defense is still a little suspect.

I see Monday night’s performance by Waiters as the beginning of consistency off the bench. He’s obviously not going to score 26 points of the bench every game, but if he can give the second unit a boost, it helps the team in so many different ways. The Big 3 can afford to play less minutes without the team missing a beat. A star is able to have a poor night and the team can still win. A la Kyrie Irving on Monday. And of course, it just gives the Cavaliers another weapon that can score the basketball.

So at this point, if Waiters continues to play well, I’d consider holding off on a trade. If the Cavaliers, once again, lose it on the defensive end, then maybe it’s time to part ways. Take it or leave it, but LeBron is very cool with Waiters and the Cavaliers front office will obviously do anything the King says.

I think the entire fan base wants to see this team succeed as is, who would want a trade if it isn’t necessary? Let’s just hope this continues.

-Zach Shafron

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