One thing became clear this past weekend for the Los Angeles Lakers and it’s that they may just not need more help to win the championship. They beat both the Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks and they did it without Darren Collison, Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris or Bogdan Bogdanovic. Many have said the Lakers needed an additional piece to be true title contenders, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Regardless, Los Angeles will soon integrate Dion Waiters into their lineup and he’s a guy who could make a decent impact if he keeps his head on straight. Waiters had a chance to explain what he brings to the team.
“It’s doing the little things, being a great teammate,” Waiters said, per Melissa Rohlin of Sports Illustrated. “Most importantly, trying to find ways to help the guys. I think if I come in here and I work hard, I prepare myself, my preparation, just coming in doing everything I need to do to be ready for when my number called. I’m ready for it.”
Waiters has fallen on hard times over the last year. His stint with the Miami Heat did not end well and it remains to be seen if he can turn things around.
Waiters Believes He Has Strong Relationship With LeBron
One thing that will be important to monitor is Waiters’ relationship with LeBron James. He believes that two have a good rapport.
“It’s always been a bond,” Waiters said. “Even when I left. We always see each other, we always showed love. So, nothing really changed. It’s just different teams.”
Despite what Waiters is saying, there’s evidence that they didn’t always have a great relationship, which probably played a role in the guard getting traded away from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Obviously, they are likely okay now or the Lakers wouldn’t have signed Waiters. Regardless, if he starts becoming a problem, Los Angeles will have no problem showing him the door. Luckily, Waiters is putting the past behind him.
“You learn from your mistakes at the end of the day,” Waiters said. “We don’t got to keep drilling on the past, things like that. You live and you learn. And I did that. So, they understood that and that was a short conversation.”
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When Will Waiters Suit Up?
There aren’t many games left before the playoffs begin, so the Lakers don’t have too much time to integrate Waiters into their lineup. Head coach Frank Vogel is going to be patient with his newest player.
“It’s probably going to be a few games,” Vogel said Saturday when Waiters might play. “He hadn’t played all year.”
Another big obstacle that Waiters faces is that the Lakers aren’t putting in a lot of practice time this far into the season.
“At this time of year, there’s not a lot of practice time,” Vogel said. “But we manufacture it because the biggest thing with him is getting his legs under him, so the more that he can play five-on-five, the better.”
Waiters is a veteran and likely kept in shape, so it shouldn’t be too much of a learning curve for him. The team didn’t bring him in to play a lot of minutes. They just need him to come off the bench from time to time and make a couple of shots.