Dion Waiters has had a rough couple of months in the NBA.
This season, with the Miami Heat, he played in only three total games despite being perfectly healthy. This was due to a number of incidents, the most notable being his THC gummy induced panic attack on the team plane back in November. He was very critical of Miami and his role on the team, which caused an even lengthier suspension. So to say Waiters comes in with some baggage is a bit of an understatement. But at the end of the day, he is still a quality player who can help the Lakers in one crucial area. Here is how Dion Waiters can help the Los Angeles Lakers this season.
The Lakers rank among the top 10 in the league in almost every category, but one place they have not excelled this season has been from beyond the arc. The team ranks just 14th in the NBA in 3-point percentage and shoot only 31 a game, 22nd in the league and 13 3-pointers behind the league-leading Houston Rockets.
The Lakers bench unit has been especially poor at shooting threes, they rank just 16th in the league among bench units in 3-point percentage and 3-pointers attempted. The only reliable shooter off the Lakers bench is Centavious Caldwell Pope and arguably Troy Daniels. Three key pieces of the Lakers bench, Kyle Kuzma, Rajon Rondo and Dwight Howard, are all very poor from beyond the arc and the Lakers could do with one more quality shooter to stretch the floor and give more room for guys like Kuzma to operate.
If there is one thing that Dion Waiters has been very capable of doing throughout his career it has been shooting from downtown. Over his past five seasons, he is shooting around 37 percent from three, an above-average mark. More importantly, he is more than willing to shoot at a high rate, something the Lakers have not been doing this season. Over his past three years in the league, he attempts more than five 3-pointers per game, which is more than anyone on the Lakers not named LeBron James.
The Lakers need offense when LeBron is not on the court. When LeBron is playing the Lakers offensive rating is 115, the second-best mark in the league. When he sits that falls all the way to 105, the second-worst in the league. As much as he might like to, LeBron cannot play every minute in the playoffs and the offense needs to be better when he is sitting. The Lakers are banking on Dion Waiters being able to provide some instant offense off the bench and be able to spread the floor for his fellow bench players.
All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference
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