Adam Zagoria covers the New York Knicks, Big East hoops and U.S. Open tennis for NBA.com and SNY.tv. He also appears as a Big East Basketball Insider on SNY and 1050 ESPN Radio.
With the 2012 NBA draft coming up next month, we spoke with Zagoria for a look at Syracuse guard Dion Waiters’ prospects in the NBA.
Adam Zagoria’s take: He’s going to go in the middle of the first round. He was clearly the most NBA ready guard on the Syracuse team. He’s a tremendous scorer who can get to the basket and he’s got an NBA body. He’s a strong and very athletic and agile with a nice crossover and ability to get to the basket. There were a lot of questions about whether he was going to come out, but he’s got to come out now because his stock is pretty high.
The Juice Online’s Scouting Report:
- Strengths: Explosive and dynamic scorer… Prototypical NBA combo-guard… Possesses the speed and agility to get into the paint at will… Has the strength and creativity to finish inside… Primarily a scorer, but has decent vision and can find teammates for open looks… At his best in transition, showcasing his speed and ability to finish in traffic… On defense, has active hands and feet… Generates steals at a high rate both playing passing lanes and especially poking balls away as an on-the-ball defender.
- Weaknesses: Has NBA range on his shot, but not a knock-down outside shooter… In two years at Syracuse, shot just 32 and 36 percent from beyond the arc… Not a natural distributor and struggled at times in halfcourt sets… Needs to show ability to quarterback the offense and facilitate… For a scoring guard, needs to improve at the free throw line… Shot 81 percent from the charity stripe in his freshman year but just 72 percent in sophomore season… May have trouble matching up against the bigger shooting guards in the NBA.
- Birthdate: December 1, 1991
- Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
- Position: Guard
- School: Syracuse ’14
- Height, 6’4″
- Weight, 215 lbs
- NBADraft.net: 1st round, 19th pick (Denver Nuggets)
- Draftexpress.com: 1st round, 23rd pick (Boston Celtics)
- The Hoops Report: 1st round, 22nd pick (Atlanta Hawks)
Career Highlights at Syracuse: Waiters was named the Big East Six Man of the Year after averaging 12.6 points and 2.6 assists in 24.1 minutes per game. Though Waiters never started a single game at SU, he was one of the biggest reasons that Syracuse went 34-3 on the season. Waiters nearly doubled his stats across the line in his second year. He averaged 6.6 points and 1.5 assists as a freshman.