Dion Waiters ‘Thankful’ Lakers Embraced Him With ‘Open Arms’
Dion Waiters
Jim Poorten-NBAE

Dion Waiters had to wait to dress up and play for the Los Angeles Lakers as he was signed right before the NBA was forced to suspend the 2019-20 season due in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

However, since joining the team in the Walt Disney World bubble, Waiters has gotten plenty of praise from his teammates and Lakers head coach Frank Vogel, who already had been encouraged with how the guard looked in practices before departing for Orlando, Florida.

After spending time with his new teammates in the bubble, Waiters could not help but emphasize how close the roster is and how comfortable he has already gotten.

“Just the vibe. Having that camaraderie, the guys cheering you on, calling you ‘Philly Cheese’ and ‘Say Cheese’ when you hit shots, it’s a little bit of everything. They’ve been great ever since I got here,” Waiters said. “They welcomed me with open arms. I’m really thankful, to be honest. I’m happy.”

The Lakers have undeniable chemistry and have readily taken to calling Waiters “Philly Cheese,” which was a nickname he earned while playing for the Miami Heat because he hails from Philadelphia. Waiters acknowledged that the nickname has stuck and that he feels a part of the team.

“They call me ‘Philly Cheese.’ That’s my nickname. But with the threes, Danny Green started saying ‘Say Cheese.’ It feels good,” he said. “Some guys, like myself, we like to play off the crowd. Teammates are there supporting you, it’s a win-win.”

The guard has shined in the two scrimmage games the Lakers have played, showing off the scoring and ball-handling L.A. hoped they would see when they brought him on. With Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo out, the guard rotation took a hit, but Waiters is quickly easing that burden and is a making a case for a regular rotation role once games officially begin.

Waiters unconcerned as playoffs loom

With Waiters still getting his legs under him after the layoff, Los Angeles can fortunately afford to bring him along slowly as they have a sizable lead in the standings.

The 2019-20 season restart will feature eight seeding games before the playoffs begin. Waiters will need those matchups to help him get up to speed. However, the 28-year-old seemed unfazed and even confident about playing in the postseason.

“It’s easy, because they welcomed me with open arms. I don’t have to come in and try to be somebody I’m not,” he said. “As far as me and coach building a relationship and trust, I think I’ve put in the work. I think coach has gotten a chance to see what I can do. He knows what I can do from playing against me. This time around, I’m locked in and more focused.”

Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!

You May Also Like

Lakers News: Julius Randle Thinks He’ll Play In Season Opener Vs. Clippers

Los Angeles Lakers big man Julius Randle is dealing with an intercostal strain but he is optimistic that he will be able to play in the season opener…

Lakers Practice Notes & Video: Kyle Kuzma Too Good To Take Off The Floor

Los Angeles Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma scored 31 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Christmas Day, the most by a rookie since LeBron James, and only the second rookie in the past 50 years to drop 30 on December 25…

Lakers News: Larry Nance Jr. Suffers Sprained Wrist, Will Be Re-Evaluated Monday

The Los Angeles Lakers dropped their seventh straight game on Sunday night…

Lakers News: Mitch Kupchak Hints At Keeping No. 2 Pick, Drafting Big

With the second overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, the Los…