OKC Thunder: Dion or Di-Off?

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Megan Avi HeaderDion Waiters is oddly polarizing for such a quiet player. You don’t see his quotes all over Twitter, you don’t hear about him acting up (with the Thunder, at least) or called for dirty fouls. Yet, people absolutely despise him. I understand that there is always “that guy” on the team that everyone collectively rags on. For the Royals, it’s Omar Infante, for the Chiefs it’s Jeff Allen, but I thought that Kyle Singler with his weird AF bowl cut was enough to take the heat off Dion for the 2016 season. I was wrong.

Dion Waiters is not exactly undeserving of the Thunder fan’s ire. He gets the fourth most minutes on the court, but only averages 9.9 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per 36, while also dragging along a 2.1 turnover rate-the 3rd highest on the team. His offensive numbers have been on a steady decline since 2013, dropping from 19.3 points per 36 to the mere 10 he has this year. With Andre Roberson out with a knee sprain for the next 3 weeks, the Thunder faithful are not particularly keen on having to rely on Waiter’s numbers to provide the support Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will need.

Never fret, my friends, there is a silver lining to Dion Waiters. First of all, this is his free agency year so he has to do everything in his power to show he is worthy of some big dough to… someone. Especially since he already turned down the extension that the Thunder offered him last year. This means Dion believes that Dion can do big things. Let’s hope so. Second, Waiters has been really focusing on his offense. He has been fallen into a routine of shooting with Kevin Durant after team practice. Waiters has also been watching film and has picked up on the fact that he loves to fade away way too often which is affecting his shot completely. With the help of KD and the coaches, Waiters has improved not only his shot, but his patience in taking shots instead of rushing to lob an off center 3 point shot 6 seconds into the shot clock.

As of late, Dion has been on quite the hot streak. He has put up double digits in points in 6 of his last 9 games and has really been effective in shot calling as opposed to ball hogging. Waiters is known for being a streaky player, but with his numbers holding steady for 2 weeks now, this could be the new and improved #3.

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