Dion Waiters has been vaulted up in the Los Angeles Lakers rotation due to Avery Bradley opting out of the Walt Disney World bubble andRajon Rondo missing upwards of two months with a fractured thumb.
As the team’s secondary shot creator off the bench, Waiters has had positive moments, but has also struggled with consistency. That is to be expected, of course, as he’s played a limited number of minutes with L.A.
Over time, Wiaters is hopeful that he can forge a consistent role in the postseason that can even continue once Rondo is back in action with the team. “He likes to find open guys and make the right play,” Waiters said of potentially playing with Rondo. “He’s aggressive and one of the smartest players I’ve been around.
“I always pick his brain, ask him questions, and we’ve been texting back and forth. He’s been texting me, telling me what he sees on the floor, what I can do better. He’s so smart and his IQ is very high, so when I get a chance to be with a guy like that, I’m constantly asking questions and just trying to get better.”
What role Waiters will ultimately play for the Laker is unclear, but he’s been mindful of that since signing with the team and is focused on contributing when given an opportunity. “The only thing I could do is be ready whenever my number gets called,” Waiters said.
“Honestly, I didn’t know how it would go. Rondo went down and Avery opted out not to come back, so it kind of opened up for me a little bit. In a situation like that you try to take full advantage of it.”
As a main contributor to the team’s second unit, most of Waiters minutes have come with Kyle Kuzma and Alex Caruso. “A.C. is always out there talking and he puts you in the right spots. Kuz is always being aggressive, me being aggressive and just trying to keep that tempo up, make sure we go out there and do the right stuff,” Waiters said.
“And most importantly just have fun and play the right way. Everything else will come. It’s only my sixth game of the year, so for me personally it’s about having fun, enjoying every moment and staying in that moment. That’s all I can do.”
Despite the Lakers’ obvious struggles, there have been some positive developments on their bench. Waiters has looked solid at times though he’s been with the team for such a small period of time. Meanwhile, Kuzma has provided stellar defense.
Frank Vogel praises Waiters for putting himself in Lakers Playoff rotation
Where Waiters would fit in the Lakers rotation was certainly a mystery prior to the scrimmages and seeding games. However, a strong early performance made it clear that he potentially deserves to play legitimate minutes moving forward.
“For Dion, to be very aggressive touching the paint, trying to get to the charge circle, making good reads,” head coach Frank Vogel recently said.
“When the guys are coachable and they’re trying to do what you’re asking them to do, they do it at a high level and definitely make the case for being in a playoff rotation. We believe those guys are going to give us a big lift come playoff time.”
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