Stepien Rules Writer Nick Mancini checks in with his fourth of five questions as Cavs training camp continues...
4. How will our top rookies perform in the spotlight?
It is no secret that a few fans were not pleased with the selection of Syracuse guard Dion Waiters with the fourth pick. This was magnified when he arrived in Las Vegas for the Summer League overweight and searching for his shot. Again, fans weren’t happy.
My advice for the Wine and Gold faithful at this point: don’t worry, be happy.
Waiters and fellow first-round pick Tyler Zeller will be just fine. But it could take time. As the “Czar” Mike Fratello recently said, between Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, we have been a little spoiled when it comes to top picks in recent memory.
I think we have two solid guys, both with some great potential.
Lets start with Waiters...
I’m going to be honest; I have very high expectations for him. Were the Dwyane Wade comparisons a little over-the-top? Probably. But the fact is, he is going to start at the two and with shots to be had in this lineup, expect him to score. I think between 15-18 points a game could be a solid prediction, but I could be completely wrong. I think he is going to be a great compliment to Irving and it is even better these guys are comfortable with each other. There will be times where each will want the ball in their hands, but great players are the ones who know how to adapt their games. This pairing could produce one of the top backcourts in the next few years.
When it comes to Zeller...
I will be the first to admit, I didn’t instantly like the move. I thought this team needed to get younger and with three more picks after Waiters, there would be some talent in the early second round. Trading the picks to get Zeller didn’t disappoint me as much as passing on Perry Jones III did (I think he is the steal of the draft). But, I can change my mind, right? In what I have seen from Zeller, he is better than I anticipated. I knew he was skilled offensively, but it is even more than I thought. He is a great passer and can run the floor extremely well for a big man. If I am picking the starting lineup, I start Zeller over Anderson Varejao. Let the young guys go; they are going to have a rough patch, lets just get it out of the way. And plus, I love Varejao off the bench with this team.
As Brendan mentioned, if he plays well early, Waiters will play without the pressure I think he is carrying. Less than a week to go, I know I’m getting excited.