Should Dion Waiters be the Phoenix Suns’ most coveted shooting guard prospect?

Posted by on June 17th, 10:52 pm

The Phoenix Suns like Dion Waiters.

How much?

If the rumors are true, they like him enough to promise the 6-foot-4, 221-pound combo guard they’ll select him over any other prospect at No. 13 if he’s available. Clearly, like several teams, the Suns are on the Dion Waiters bandwagon, and rightfully so.

Waiters can flat-out put the ball in the bucket. He’s explosive to the rim and can finish through contact while using either hand. He’s not the most consistent shooter, but he has NBA range and is a big-time shotmaker who wants the ball in his hands.

Long story short, Waiters will be able to score the ball at the NBA level and possibly even take over games at times. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim likened Waiters to a poor man’s Dwyane Wade and called him “one of the most talented guards I’ve ever had.”

“He’s probably as talented as anybody I’ve ever had. He can play the one or the two, he’s very physical, he can score, he can get his own shot,” Boeheim added. “I think he’s going to be a tremendous player at the next level.”

Waiters lit it up in his sophomore season at Syracuse. Although he played limited minutes off the bench, he scored 21.2 points per 40 minutes with the pace adjusted, good for 6th among shooting guards in the DraftExpress Top 100 prospects.

Boeheim said he had only “one or two bad games” and spoke glowingly about his prospects at the next level. Waiters figures to be a great fit in Phoenix. He can score in a variety of ways, has the potential to be a very good defender and would thrive in an up-tempo style.

Waiters would also bring a toughness and confidence the Suns haven’t had at the guard spot in quite some time. He’s a true competitor and would certainly bring the Philly mentality to the Valley.

But with all of that said, Waiters doesn’t come without a warning label. He butted heads with Boeheim throughout his freshman season and was in and out of the rotation because of it.

His confidence often borders pure arrogance and he rarely finds a shot he doesn’t like. Would Waiters fit in with the selfless, team-first culture that has been the Steve Nash-led Phoenix Suns for so long? There’s some validity to that concern.

From a basketball standpoint Waiters would bring a ton of talent to the Suns. He plays a lot like Rodney Stuckey in his ability to get to the rim and finish through contact. He’s always in attack mode and the Suns need that in the worst way.

But even with that said, is Waiters worth a promise? Is he that big of a steal at No. 13? While I like Waiters and his potential, to say he’s head and shoulders above fellow shooting guards Jeremy Lamb, Austin Rivers, and Terrence Ross would be false.

Mike Schmitz

Mike Schmitz is a former ValleyoftheSuns writer who now works as an assistant video coordinator for the D-League\\’s Bakersfield Jam. He specialized in video breakdowns for VotS.

Facebook Twitter Google+ YouTube 

Tags: Draft · Phoenix Suns

21 responses so far ↓

  • 1 shazam // Jun 17, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    so if waiters is a poor mans dwayne wade does that make him a busboy?

  • 2 Rich Anthony, (KJL) // Jun 17, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    Waiters, if he’s there, is the best fit. He’s better for PHX than any of those other guards in my opinion.

    He gets after it. He’s going to score and unlike some of the other guards he’s going to finish THROUGH people for and-1s instead of just foul shots.

    I hope he’s there. If not somebody will be there who can help.

  • 3 Cam // Jun 18, 2012 at 12:07 am

    IMHO picking Waiters depends on whether the Suns make a move to get another pick or not. If they don’t get another pick I think they should take the best available player on the board, no matter the position. If Perry Jones III or another player falls in the draft, they should take him. If they can get the extra pick then take the player that you are willing to reach a little for (Waiters) and fill another need with the other pick. Go Suns.

  • 4 Antwuan // Jun 18, 2012 at 12:55 am

    If the Suns are able to get another draft pick, I will be ecstatic.

  • 5 Scott // Jun 18, 2012 at 1:21 am

    If I’m remembering correctly, he seems reminiscent to me of a short Antoine Walker.

    While his positives are nice, I don’t think his negatives can be overlooked, because my impression is that those negatives are permanent … not likely to be grown out of.

  • 6 Scott // Jun 18, 2012 at 1:28 am

    As for Perry Jones III, isn’t he the second coming of Tim Thomas?

  • 7 bk // Jun 18, 2012 at 2:42 am

    Will they bring back Goran Dragic through free agency?

  • 8 Rich Anthony, (KJL) // Jun 18, 2012 at 5:14 am

    Well, as free agency gets closer, Dragic’s name is coming off of a lot of lips of random GMs. He might actually be out of range price wise.

    Plus, the situation in Houston is baffling. Lowry has come out and said he wants out if Dragic returns. Houston seems to be looking for another point guard anyway if you listen to all of the sites and those reporting on pre-draft news. So Houston might have two available point guards and they’ve ALSO been whispering that their second pick can be had for the right price.

    I wouldn’t compare PJ3 to Tim Thomas especially coming out of college. Thomas didn’t have anywhere near the skill set coming out of Villanova.

    I wouldn’t compare Waiters to Walker either. Waiters did clash with his coach because, well, he wanted to ball. If the Suns pick him, Gentry will run him into the ground so I don’t see any problems there. He’ll also be given the Joe Johnson package from when JJ was part of SSOL.

    As for adding a pick that they should have already ALONG WITH Dragic, there are a lot of teams with multiple picks this year who may not want to add that much youth to the mix.

    Houston, Boston, and Golden State quickly come to mind as teams who have been looking at interests in their lower 1st round picks or in Boston’s case, a 2-for-1 deal where they move up and give up 21 and 22.

    I’m not sure what the Suns can do to get an extra one unless it involves some sort of sign and trade with Nash

  • 9 John // Jun 18, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Mark my words if jeremy lamb is avalible at 13 and the suns pass on him.Management will be kicking themselfs for years.Hes a 6’5 sg who has a nice stroke and can play D.Waiters is a tweener and is high risk high reward.

  • 10 Scott // Jun 18, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Several of the players in the Suns’ range resemble current Suns players. They’d do well as replacements should the original player be lost or traded, or might act as a backup, or they might need to improve in some areas in order to replace their Suns player.

    Tyler Zeller is already a fairly accomplished duplicate for Gortat. He runs in transition, can catch the ball and finish, and he is actually a better shooter than Gortat. He also tends to take charges, and rebounds, but needs to work more on his rim protection and defense against bigger centers, just like Gortat. So Zeller’s a lateral move as a replacement for Gortat, or perhaps a chance to have two players of the same general DNA at center.

    Meyers Leonard is an excitable athletic big man with rim protector skills who is otherwise very raw, just like Robin Lopez. If the Suns are worried about losing Lopez in free agency, there’s a replacement available in this year’s draft.

    Moultrie is not an exact replacement for Frye. He’s more of a true PF rather than a repurposed C, and he’s got the rebounding and offensive game Gentry was trying to get out of Frye. However, Frye has Moultrie soundly beat on defense and motor. Since “motor” is something players typically don’t develop, but either they come with it or they don’t, Moultrie may never be a complete upgrade on Frye, but rather a trade off of sound defense for more effective offense. (On the plus side, he does seem to enjoy scoring, a trait which fits well for a Suns offense that can occasionally be a little too unselfish.)

    Kendall Marshall might be seen as a potential replacement for Nash, in that he has the rare NBA traits of being able to see the court and pass the ball very well.
    But he’s a touch slow, unathletic, and not a crafty scorer. When drafted, Nash came to the Suns already being able to score, while Marshall will have to develop this skill. However, at least Marshall is aware of this hole in his game and he’s putting in the hours now to address it. With Nash a free agent and nearing the end of his career, drafting Marshall is a sensible move. But will NO take him just a pick or two before the Suns? I believe it is likely, as the combination of Marshall and Davis should keep the ball moving on a revamped and newly competitive Hornets team, and at the same time mollify fans put off by the Chris Paul trade.

    Austin Rivers is thought by some to be a good pick for the Suns at SG. However, if he’s replacing Redd, Redd matches him on shooting and creating his shot, and beats Rivers solidly on creating for others and taking contact at the basket: two traits the Suns need. Redd also has the right combination of desire and selflessness, which Rivers may lack. My vote here to take veteran free agent Redd over Rivers.

    Moe Harkless, to me, is the most likely true upgrade available to the Suns. He’s a lighter, more athletic Dudley, who stands an inch taller and has a 5″ longer wingspan. Harkless has a steady demeanor and hustle, and is known for his defensive skills. He rebounds about twice as well as Dudley, and he’s been working around the clock on improving his handling and shooting skills. If drafted, he could come to the Suns with decent midrange and perimeter shots, which would make him a candidate for either position on the wing, and after a year of seasoning, he could probably start. He’s only 19, was overlooked by recruiters at high school, and might have the potential to one day nose past role player status into star level.

    With veterans Hill, Warrick, and Childress all coming off the roster within 2 years, Harkless might be the best choice for the Suns to solidify the wing for the long term.

    Honorable mentions:

    Perry Jones might be an upgrade over Markieff Morris … or not. The two players are somewhat close in qualities and abilities, with Jones additionally being a fluid handler. IMO, the Suns do need another quality PF, but if Jones is available, are the Suns going to get the versatile game out of him or the disappearing act?

    Damian Lillard seems to me to be the most likely player to drop out of the higher picks to the Suns. While many see him as a PG, I see him as another Barbosa. He’d be a lightning quick scoring combo guard who could play either at SG or act in a pinch as replacement PG. Lillard could be valuable to the Suns just as Barbosa was, helping them to win games, but Lillard would have the same deficiencies as Barbosa, in that he’s not enough of a playmaker to run the team, and he’s too small to be a starter at SG. So he’d most likely be instant offense in off the bench.

    Dion Waiters is a slight improvement over Shannon Brown. Their games are very similar, with Waiters having the same turnover rate and a slightly better assist rate. Waiters is a bit heavier than Brown, which helps him absorb contact and finish, and both men shoot 36% from 3.

  • 11 Al // Jun 18, 2012 at 9:50 am

    You guys need to let go of Dragic…for now. Maybe you’ll see him again in a few years like with MVSteve. If Phoenix is looking for another point guard that badly, they should go after Louis Williams. Jeff Green would also be another great addition to the team. I am glad Phoenix is set on drafting a 2 guard. It’s going to be impossible to pry Eric Gordon from NO. I guess it will be okay to keep Gortat and not trade him if the FO adds other scoring options. Marcin CAN’T be the first option when it comes to scoring.

  • 12 Ty-Sun // Jun 18, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Unless Nash leaves or the Suns actually do make some sort of trade that sends Gortat to another team, I can’t see them drafting anything but a 2 with their pick. With a full summer league and full training camp behind him I’m betting that Morris will push Frye hard for playing time and may even move into the starting lineup. No, Gortat shouldn’t be relied on as any team’s 1st option but he’s still a damned good center and Lopez is a quality backup. Hill may be going into his last year in the NBA but, especially if the Suns draft a 2 guard, Dudley could and should be shifted back to Hill’s backup at his more natural SF position next season and if necessary start at SF eventually. He’ll never be a great starting SF but I think he would be a better starting SF than SG. I like Redd but I’m not sure he’ll ever make a 100% comeback. I still hope the Suns manage to resign him but if they draft a 2 then they could share minutes at that spot without overtaxing his wobbly knees or overwhelming the rookie with too much responsibility.

    But if Nash leaves, all bets are off IMO. The Suns would probably make an offer to Dragic if Steve leaves but so will a lot of other teams including Houston. Lowry is unhappy there not because of Dragic but because he has problems with McHale. Some sort of trade with Houston to bring Lowry to the Suns seems more likely than bringing Dragic back at this point.

    Hell, the possibilities are endless especially when you factor in the free agent market. Yes, there are no star players other than D-Will – who most likely will either wind up in Dallas or stay with the Nets – but there are a fair amount of very good FAs to try to lure into the Vally of the Suns.

  • 13 Edward // Jun 18, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Sent to my email everyday

  • 14 john drazkowski // Jun 18, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    All of the comments listed regarding the possible draftees for the Suns are quite reasonable. All have good points to their games and all have question marks. I do believe that the right player selected could make a contribution in his first year – depending on what happens with Redd and Brown. If the Suns draft a #2 only one of the two are likely to be back.

    As for Dragic, I would like to see him back, but unless Nash leaves, I do not see the Suns throwing a lot of FA money at him. He will likely be in demand and likely be overpaid.

    In the end, I suspect the Suns will take the best player available regardless of the position and fill in additional needs through free agency.

  • 15 Rich Anthony, (KJL) // Jun 18, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    I would not compare Leonard to Lopez. AT ALL.

    I’ve said that the Suns will not draft a center. Leonard won’t fall, but if he is there at 13 and the Suns took him, I would not be mad. That young kid is a beast and jumps out of the building. His footwork is already GALAXIES ahead of where Lopez is now with years of whips on his back.

    As far as scoring, it doesn’t really matter. I like Waiters more than any other prospect at the 2. Some like Rivers more. Some like Lamb more. We’ll get one of them and I’ll be fine with any of them.

    I do NOT want Zeller though.

  • 16 Tony // Jun 18, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    As I’ve stated before, the Suns FO should draft the best player possible and focus less on need. If the best player is a center, then they should take him and trade Gortat. In fact, I would like to see the FO trade Gortat, who’s value is not likely to get any higher than it currently is, for more draft picks. Having one draft pick is not going to get the job done. Rebuilding requires more than one pick and takes some of the pressure off of the FO in making sure they pick the right player.

    I admit to knowing next to nothing about these draft players. With that being said, this Waiters kid is only 6-4 right? And he’s had run ins with his head coach too. So, why would we want another undersized sg? But like I said, I haven’t seen him play nor do I know what he really brings to the table, so he may be a wise pick.

  • 17 john // Jun 18, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    There seems to be several teams with multiple picks that want to move one or more selections because they cannot accommodate multiple rookies – GS, Hou and BOS come to mind.

    There are also several teams, e.g. OKC, ATL and Mem that might want to move their picks because of salary and lux tax issues. It might be possible for the Suns to pick up a later 1st or early 2nd without having to move Gortat.

  • 18 Scott // Jun 18, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    I’d like to see the Suns take on multiple picks as well, especially if their plans to acquire a star result in trading a couple of the current players in exchange for the star.

    I believe the last pick the Suns bought on draft day was Dragic. (Barbosa was also a bought pick; both in fact were purchased from San Antonio.)

  • 19 bk // Jun 18, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    The front office still stick with their mistake and need to spend some money on matching restricted FA on Aaron Brooks, instead of Goran Dragic.

  • 20 Rich Anthony, (KJL) // Jun 19, 2012 at 1:44 am

    @ Tony

    The SG’s the Suns may take are all quite close in size. Waiters is a big 6’4. Rivers is a small 6’5 Lamb is a true 6’5.

    Only Lamb has longer reach. Waiters is “longer” than the rest of them.

    In terms of system, Lamb an Waiters are the best fits for different reasons.

    Lamb is a catch and shoot guy who reads the defense and attacks it off of the offensive motion. So if there’s a PnR and his guy starts to leave him to help on the penetration, he’ll see it and float to the open area and bury it. He has a lot of “middle years” Ray Allen in his game. Not young reverse-alley-oop Allen or Celtics Allen. Seattle-on-the-way-to-Boston Allen. He’s also very light in the pants so defensively he may get bullied a bit.

    Waiters is a beast. Like I said before he’d get the SSOL Joe Johnson package where he can run the PnR on a switch and attack. He can also iso on the weakside and attack quickly.
    He’s also 210 and likes to get to the rim. He’s going to draw fouls and finish. He’s going to drain 3′s. He’s going to run the break. He’s not going to get pushed around on defense. He’s that scoring threat we’ve all been wanting.

    I’ve been on his bandwagon for awhile and now the nation is gushing over him, so that means he’ll probably get picked 8th or something, and I’ll be depressed.

  • 21 Scott // Jun 19, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Waiters is 6′ 4″ (with shoes), he weighs 221, and his wingspan is 6′ 7.25″. He’s 20 years old.

Leave a Comment