The shooting guard position in the NBA is arguably the most unsettled player group in the league. Stalwarts like Dwyane Wade, Manu Ginobili and Kobe Bryant are, to varying degrees, on the downsides of their careers. Eric Gordon, who was supposed to take the helm from Wade as the best two-guard in the league, barely played in 2012. James Harden is the one true breakout star at the position, but after that you're left with players like Joe Johnson, Monta Ellis and Kevin Martin -- effective scorers who don't really contribute in other facets of the game that are still paid like stars.
That brings us to Dion Waiters, the Cleveland Cavaliers' first-round pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Waiters is expected to slide into the two-guard position in Cleveland, but his late rocketing up draft boards has led some to wonder if the Cavs overdrafted the scorer from Syracuse. David Zavac of Fear the Sword, SB Nation's Cavs blog, takes on that topic, and comes away with the conclusion that the dearth of stars at the position means that Waiters has a low hurdle to clear to become a very valuable asset in Cleveland.
Did the Cavaliers take him a little bit higher than the average fan (or me) was ready for? Sure. But if Waiters becomes even a pretty good NBA player, he will be better than most of the starting Shooting Guards in the league. We obviously don't know if that is going to happen, but it is important to look at the context of the state of the position right now. It is a lot of guys who don't play defense that take a lot of jump shots and aren't all that efficient, or guys who are situational stoppers who come in and play solid defense. Waiters projects as a guy with the athleticism and size to stay in front of 2-guards, and he does a good amount of his damage scoring the basketball by attacking the basket. In today's NBA, where hand-check rules have only served to make driving easier and more important, Waiters could be a serious asset.
If Waiters can fulfill that prophecy, he would be a part of what could be one of the best cores of young players in the NBA.