|NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Syracuse SG Dion Waiters||06.13.12 at 1:30 pm ET|
As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2012 NBA draft, we are profiling all players considered likely candidates to be drafted June 28. The Celtics own three picks: 21, 22 (from the Thunder in the Kendrick Perkins trade) and 51.
Position: Shooting guard
Weight: 210 pounds
Achievements: 2012 All-Big East third team, 2012 AP All-America honorable mention
Key 2011-12 stats: 12.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 47.6 FG%, 72.9 FT%, 36.3 3P%
What he brings: Ranked by many scouts as the fourth-best shooting guard in the draft, Waiters is generally considered one of the draft’s best scorers and a guy who can get to the rim at will.
Waiters has been compared to Tyreke Evans. He’s a bit undersized for his position, given his lack of elite leaping ability, and could improve his outside shooting consistency, but he has the body, athletic ability and willingness to score at the next level. In his recently concluded sophomore season he also showcased an impressive ability to distribute the ball.
The biggest concerns, and the ones Waiters has made great strides to improve, are his character and his defense. Waiters came to Syracuse as one of the top high school recruits in the country but his reputation took a hit when he clashed with coach Jim Boeheim and publicly questioned whether the two could coexist after averaging only 16 minutes per game in his freshman season. Waiters showed up his sophomore year in excellent shape, agreed to come off the bench as the team’s sixth man, and played much more aggressive defense.
Where he ends up going in the draft depends largely on how effectively his performance has addressed team’s concerns about his defense and personality, because his talent is unquestioned.
Where the Celtics could get him: Waiters is expected to be a mid-to-late lottery pick, so the Celtics would have to make a sizable jump to have a shot.
Notes: There were reports this week that Waiters canceled all pre-draft workouts and interviews, often an indication that a prospect has a promise from a team to take him.
Video: Here are highlights of Waiters against Villanova and Marquette.