Cavs guard Waiters reiterates he wants to start
Dion Waiters is entering his third NBA season, and he has been regularly effective off the bench. But Waiters is making it clear that he strongly prefers to play another role.
"I want to start and I believe that I should at the two," Waiters said in an interview with CSNNW.com NBA writer Chris Haynes on Monday.
Waiters was speaking after taking part in the first day of Team USA training camp in Las Vegas. He is a member of the U.S. Select Team, which is helping Team USA prepare for its upcoming competition in the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain. Waiters will not play for the U.S. in the World Cup.
The Cavs selected shooting guard Andrew Wiggins with the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft, and as the roster stands today, Waiters will battle Wiggins for the starting spot.
A Twitter follower asked Waiters last week if he’d be willing to come off the bench, and Waiters offered the following response: "Nooooooooo."
He expanded on that thought in the interview with CSNNW.com.
"I’m going to do whatever is best for the team, of course, but at the end of the day, I’m a man and I’m confident in myself," Waiters told the website. "I’ve always been a guy that gives it right to you. I’ve never been a guy that plays that political stuff. I was brought up that way. I’m straightforward. I give my honest opinion. I’m not going to sit here and hide. They asked a question and I tell you."
The Cavaliers have added a new head coach in David Blatt and a new superstar in four-time NBA MVP LeBron James, who joined the team in free agency. The roster includes reigning All-Star Game MVP and point guard Kyrie Irving, who’s currently training in Vegas with Waiters. Unlike Waiters, Irving is a candidate to play for Team USA this summer.
As for Blatt, he appears to have no issue with Waiters’ determination.
"I think that Dion is a guy that believes in his abilities and really, really wants to be a great player at the highest level," Blatt said. "There’s nothing wrong with that. I think that’s a positive that he desires to be an elite guy and really wants to win at the same time. That’s what’s important to me."
Waiters averaged 15.9 points on 43 percent shooting last season. He played in 70 games, but started just 24 under former coach Mike Brown.
"Expectations are going to be huge next season," Waiters said. "Sold-out arenas every night. We got to get used to that and enjoy the moment. We can’t get too high or too low. I think it’s a great opportunity for everybody. LeBron is arguably the best player in the game so I have to make sure I bring it on a nightly. I’m ready."
Both Wiggins and Waiters have seen their name surface in trade rumors this offseason, with Wiggins being mentioned as a potential trade chip for Timberwolves star Kevin Love. Meanwhile, Waiters was said to be drawing strong interest from the 76ers around the time of the draft and as recently as last week.