If you think back to July, you'l remember seeing Dion Waiters at Summer League. You'll also remember that he was 450 pounds and couldn't even move from one end of the floor to the other. Oh wait, that's not right -- but if you paid attention to Twitter and other blogs since then, that's what you would think. In reality, he was slightly out of shape -- for an NBA player. Which means he was probably still in ridiculous shape for a normal human being. Regardless, Byron Scott holds his players to a higher standard and made some comments that Dion wasn't conditioned properly for the NBA. Chris Grant and Coach Scott obviously believe in Waiters' talent and skill, but in order for them to get the most out of him, he needs to be ready physically. They weren't satisfied with what they saw in Las Vegas and worked with Dion to fix that, according to Terry Pluto.
"Dion knew he was out of shape," said General Manager Chris Grant. "When we talked to him about it, he agreed that he needed to get to work. He didn't make any excuses, he didn't run from it."
I was never really all that concerned about Dion's conditioning, simply because I know he got the reputation as a gym rat at Syracuse and because Byron is such a drill sergeant. Samardo Samuels was out of shape last year -- so he hardly played. That's how it is with Byron Scott. If you can't get in shape, you aren't going to play. That motivated Samardo and he slimmed down at least 30 pounds from the end of last year. Dion seems to have gotten the message too.
Here's what Waiters told Tom Withers:
"Baby fat," Waiters said, adding his body type explains some of his girth. "I'm just thick."
Waiters also tried to explain (but not make excuses) why he wasn't in great shape in Vegas. He pointed to the fact that once his agent shut down workouts before the draft, he didn't push himself as hard. No matter, as Waiters has apparently since dropped 10 pounds and Byron Scott says he's in much better shape. Waiters' description of his body as "thick" is probably accurate, even if it does immediately bring this Nelly song to mind (lyrics NSFW). He's not very tall for a 2-guard, but he's frequently described as a bulldog -- a guy who has been able to use his strength to bully other shooting guards. It's what helped him be more disruptive on defense in college and led to him being one of the best at drawing fouls in the NCAA last year.
Here's a picture from his instagram that he posted a few days ago. Having seen him in person in Las Vegas...he does look much better in this shot. Now that he's slimmed down and even more motivated to prove his doubters wrong, Dion should be ready for the NBA. I think it's safe to say that Cavs fans are ready to see what he can do.