Dion Waiters took a gamble.
When he announced his intentions to leave Syracuse and enter the NBA draft, there were plenty who questioned his decision. Almost everyone recognized his talent and potential, but there was debate on whether he was truly ready, whether he needed another year of seasoning before going pro.
In true Dion fashion, he's proving all the doubters wrong.
Reports out of Las Vegas, where Dion is training at Impact Basketball, say that he's impressed scouts to the point where he's lept from fringe first rounder to mid-lottery pick in the eyes of many NBA decision makers. They like his strength, quickness and his potential to play both guard spots.
ESPN draft guru Chad Ford recently sat down with Dion and talked with him about his training, his game and his NBA future.
Even as a lottery pick, Dion is apt to come off the bench, a role he's very familiar with:
"You've got an advantage sitting on the bench because you can see things your teammates aren't taking advantage of. So, when you get in the game, you're finding spots and you're finding holes and that made me a much better player."
Ford sees Dion being virtually equal with Kendall Marchall as the best PG in the draft. Dion weights in on the possibility.
"I definitely could play point. If you look back at the tapes and see some of the games where I had seven, six assists...So, I could definitely play point a the next level."
Everyone compares Waiters to Dwayne Wade. He appears to be embracing the comparison.
"I've been hearing comparisons to a lot of big guards like Baron Davis when he was young, D-Will. A lot of comparisons I get are like D-Wade, so I kinda watch him a little bit."
Of course, training sessions are only the beginning of the process. There are individual team workouts to be held and Dion plans on attending the NBA draft combine being held June 7-8 in Chicago along with fellow Orange Kris Joseph and Fab Melo. Dion may be closer than ever to realizing his NBA dream but there are a lot of steps still left to get there. He appears to be on the right path. He just needs to make sure that what's happened in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas.
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