Last night during the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2nd year shooting guard Dion Waiters got into a heated competition with Tim Hardaway Jr. that led to huge responses from the crowd. Waiters and Hardaway hit 3 pointers like layups. The crowd ooh’d and ahh’d. Kevin Durant and James Harden danced and shook their heads in response to the show. Cavalier faithful on twitter responded with a number of typical responses. From excitement that their player was doing so well to disbelief that the team didn’t draft Hardaway when they drafted Sergey Karasev in last year’s draft. Take a look at their back and forth last night:
For the Cavaliers and their fans this type of performance was exciting. Waiters, during a national game, took over offensively, hitting big shot after big shot. He seemed in his element, not feeling any pressure and produced like a star. Waiters took the challenge from Hardaway and didn’t back down. He actually attempted some defense, unheard of in All Star weekend games. Yet he didn’t just settle for shooting long range jumpers, he didn’t try to match Hardaway’s specific shots. Instead he drove to the basket twice, passed to a wide open teammate once and hid a mid range jump shot. He showed his whole repertoire. Waiters’ excitement and confidence has been building since the Chris Grant firing, last night was a great sign.
The concern for the Cavs and fans is that Waiters takes this performance, and the responses he is getting, to his head. Instead of seeing this as a growing moment he sees it as proof he should be starting AND that a team could be built around him. His performance last night was the type of 1 on 1 play that has been getting phased out of the league. No longer does a one man team, such as Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony, or even Kobe Bryant, rule the league. Lebron James has help and plays in a team concept. Same with Kevin Durant. The San Antonio Spurs have had superstars a plenty but have always played this way. Whether its Dion Waiters or Kyrie Irving the Cavs can not become one of those teams. The Atlanta Hawks struggled with this for years as their offense was ISO-Joe, Joe Johnson, and not much else. Mike Woodson has taken this type of offense to New York where Melo is scoring in bunches and the loses are building up. Waiters has a ton of skill. He can take over games when needed, but has to learn and know that playing as a team is the highest priority. Will this event cause more problems then good?
What were you thinking as you watched last night? Were you concerned? Were you excited? Do you think Irving and Waiters can co-exist? Do you think Waiters is even close to Irving in terms of building a team around? Continue the conversation below.