Dion Waiters will play his first real NBA game in his hometown of Philadelphia later on tonight. He'll come in averaging 14.7 points on 41 percent shooting through nine games to go along with 2.2 assists and 2.4 rebounds.
The last time he played in Philly was during the preseason. On October 17th, Waiters finished 2-9 from the floor for five points in 27 minutes.
I caught up with Dion following the Mavericks game on Saturday to talk for a minute about that return trip to the City of Brotherly Love:
As a heads up, I made myself write one hundred times on my dry erase board last night: "you are not a member of the Cavaliers in any way, Brendan". So hopefully that will keep me from using terms like "we" during an interview moving forward. I tried to quickly correct myself in talking with Dion, but it was too late. My bad on that.
Getting back to Dion's most recent performance, he was aggressive and did put a solid scoring number (16) on the board but his shooting percentage (25 percent; 4-16) was certainly not where it needed to be.
He put that pressure he mentioned on the referees to make calls at the rim, and should've gotten one when he tried to dunk on Chris Kaman's head late, but unfortunately the officials missed it.
He just needs to keep attacking like that moving forward no matter what happens. I have no problem with 16 field goal attempts, even with him missing 12.
Rookie Life: Dion Waiters has to wear this backpack
I took this picture of Dion's backpack last night and asked him if he was going to have to wear it when he went home to Philly.
Dion told me: "I'm not sure, Gibson said maybe I won't have to. I'm hoping I don't".
Waiters is listed at four on the current Rookie Ladder rankings at NBA.com this morning. He is also one of only three rookies listed on a poll asking which "rookie has been most impressive so far" this season.
After I voted this morning, Dion had 10,305 endorsements. Damian Lillard had 27,102 and Anthony Davis had only 4,171. I have no idea how that translates to the electoral college, however.
Cavs Are Playing Some Seriously Awful Defense This Year
Byron Scott is currently coaching the worst defensive team in the NBA. His Cavaliers are allowing the opposition to shoot 51 percent from the field, on average, every night. They are also giving up 104.6 points per game. There is no NBA team worse in either category.
On Saturday, the Mavericks shot 51 percent. If the Cavs had held Dallas to 48, or even maybe 49, they probably win that game. Not asking much really, if you think about it. But they couldn't do even that and lost again because of it.
Scott appeared later than normal for his post game press conference afterwards to talk about all that. For some perspective on how late: I attended Rick Carlisle's presser first; then walked back to check on Byron's; saw it hadn't started; then walked back and talked with OJ Mayo for an upcoming SLAM article; walked back to Scott's presser again after that and it still hadn't started.
When it finally did, the Cavs coach appeared pretty bent.
He said his defense's "biggest problem is communication" out on the court. He also said that communication on the defensive side of the ball "has been this team's biggest problem for the last three years since I've been here".
Hopefully he can help change that soon, because the Cavs will just keep losing until he does.