NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 23: Dion Waiters #3 of the Syracuse Orange reaches for the ball against Erick Green #11 of the Virginia Tech Hokies during the 2011 Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden on November 23, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Dion Waiters has to be considered the late-bloomer of the 2012 NBA Draft build-up. Despite never starting a game for the Syracuse Orange, Waiters has seen his draft stock rise from bottom of the first round straight into the lottery in recent weeks.
Now in the homestretch, Waiters arrived in Chicago for the draft combine, ready to prove that all this hype was warranted. On the first night he did a couple interviews with teams and then, all of a sudden, he left. Without even doing one workout.
Huh? Turns out that there is rampant speculating he received a promise from one of the teams in the lottery that they'll use their pick on him.
The three teams that seem to be leading the speculation? The Portland Trail Blazers (sixth and eleventh pick), Toronto Raptors (eigth pick) and Phoenix Suns Toronto emerged as the most likely candidate Thursday, however GM Brian Colangelo did comment publicly, kinda-sorta denying it without denying it:
Raptor GM Bryan Colangelo was genuine in his denial on Dion Waiters... went on a rant saying "Why Me? Why am I the guy making promises"— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) June 8, 2012
Meanwhile, Toronto still remained the most likely destination per some sources:
One NBA team exec told Yahoo! Sports he believes Syracuse guard Dion Waiters got a draft day promise from the Raptors with the eighth pick.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) June 8, 2012
Of course, where would the fun be in just ending speculation now?
Most NBA people I talk to are convinced that its Phoenix that promised Dion Waiters at 13, not Toronto. Makes a heck of a lot more sense.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 8, 2012
Well, if nothing else, this makes things a lot more fun. Also nice to know that it's basically a given now that a Syracuse player will be picked in the lottery.
It's also kinda interesting to hear about a player outside the top two or three picks getting a guarantee strong enough to just stop working out altogether. That seems risky on Dion's part...a lot can happen between now and the 28th. Let's hope Dion's agents know what they're doing.
Be interesting to see if Dion mentions this in his next blog post...