I’ve been profiling potential Raptors Draft targets for the last couple of weeks here at RaptorBlog, and we’re down to our final three.

Up next is a guy that there’s been a lot of buzz around lately, Syracuse guard Dion Waiters.

Dion Waiters – Guard – 6’4, 221 lbs.

Syracuse

Dion Waiters played his college ball for a big program, but he’s managed to kind of creep up on most of us over the last few weeks. He clashed with Jim Boeheim and had some believing that he wasn’t exactly a team-first guy, but most scouting reports you’ll find say that Waiters appears to be one of those prospects that will have a much better pro career than collegiate one.

Waiters is a bit of a combo guard that while undersized (6’2.5 without shoes), doesn’t play small at all when he’s relentlessly attacking the basket and does the majority of his offensive damage going towards the rim. He also significantly improved his shooting in his sophomore season (47.6 FG%, 36.3 3PT%) and scored over 12 points per game in just over 24 minutes, though he does lack consistency in his jump-shot.

If he can find that shooting consistency and becomes a complete scorer, and there’s no reason to believe he can’t, Waiters has some serious upside, with some saying he’s the second best prospect in this Draft class (after Anthony Davis) and even going as far as comparing him to Dwyane Wade.

Questions remain about Dion’s NBA position (Is he too small to play shooting guard in the Association? Is he a good enough passer and does he make good enough decisions with the ball to be a point guard?) and his defensive effort, but his increasingly high ceiling has reportedly convinced at least one Lottery team to make him a Draft night promise (Waiters cancelled his pre-draft workouts earlier this month), and many still believe Toronto could be that team, regardless of Bryan Colangelo’s denials.

If I had to put money on it, I’d say Waiters is one of the two or three most likely outcomes for the Raptors on June 28.

Comments (8)

  1. surprised there hasn’t been a profile on lillard. Potentially 1 of the 3 left??

    • Lillard would be my pick. Small like Waiters but I like his ability to get into the lane and create opportunities for our shooters.

      It’s a guards league right now, hybrid guards with the ability to penetrate seem to succeed on the NBA level.

      • Agreed. They’re both really intriguing; we’ve seen a bit more of Lillard’s game as he was a senior and the star of his team, whereas Waiters is younger and came off the bench for Syrcause. It’s a little bit of a “now vs. future” prospect debate, with question marks still circling around Lillard due to the lower level of competition in the Big Sky conference.

        That said, I still favour Lillard’s resume to Waiters’, even if Dion has (arguably) the higher ceiling and more experience against high-level of competition. I truly believe Lillard’s game will translate well into the NBA, as have the games of similar combo-PGs that have been successful over recent years, and that he could be an above-average guard in this league. I know Demar is not a sure thing as our 2-guard of the future, but I don’t like the idea of moving him to SF (where are people coming up with the argument that it’s his “natural position?”) and see a much better fit in adding a one over a two.

        Seeing as how we seem to be taking the ‘best-player-available’ rather than a need-based draft approach, I don’t think it should matter if Lillard and Bayless have similar games. If Lillard is drafted by the Raps, Bayless becomes expendable and there would definitely be a market for his services. That gives Damian a full year to learn with/behind Jose Calderon. I like the sounds of that scenario.

        • ” If Lillard is drafted by the Raps, Bayless becomes expendable and there would definitely be a market for his services. That gives Damian a full year to learn with/behind Jose Calderon. I like the sounds of that scenario”

          My thoughts exactly, I think with our emerging front court we need a strong PG who can break defenses down and get those guys open for some easy looks and space the floor for our shooters.

          • How about a quick duo of bayless and lillard at 1-2? We’ve seen this with Jose and Bayless, no reason why the same cannot be said for Bayless and Lillard in short stints.

  2. Walters is highly questionable for me. Not fast enough for PG, too small to defend at the 2.

    I hate to say it, but Lamb looks like the best fit. It’s easier to get a headcase’s head on straight than it is to have him grow three inches.

  3. I would be quite happy with any of Lamb/Lillard/Waiters.

    As long as BC doesn’t do something stupid like trade the pick (unless it is as an upgrade to get Beal or MKG) then I, as a fan, will demand one of these three be selected.

    I don’t buy the not fast enough or too small arguments. This kid knows how to play. And he really does look quite a bit like Wade out there.

  4. Waiters = A better version of Fred Jones?

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