Dion Waiters is still working out some of the kinks in his game while playing for the Lakers.
At some point during the NBA’s restart to its season that was halted because of the coronavirus pandemic, Waiters has faith that he’ll hit his stride and give the Lakers that boost they’ll need.
He has shown some signs of getting the rust off his skill set in the first three seeding games.
But Waiters reminded the media during a videoconference call Tuesday that he has played in only six games the entire season. The other three games he played were with the Miami Heat.
“Me, it’s still just trying to be aggressive,” Waiters said. “Be who I am. Attack, make plays for myself and others. I know my rhythm gonna come. I know my shot gonna fall eventually. But if I’m doing the little things right now, and just trying to get that rhythm and gain momentum into the playoffs, I’ll be fine. I’m not worried about my shot. I know that’s gonna fall eventually. And just continue to keep working. But I’m doing all the little things, getting to the basket, creating, just the little things.”
Waiters is a 6-foot-3 combo guard who has been called upon because point guard Rajon Rondo is out recovering from surgery to repair a broken right thumb.
As one of the first players off the bench, Waiters is playing 20.5 minutes a game. He’s averaging 10.0 points, 2.3 assists and 2.0 rebounds. He’s making 40.7% of his shots, 21.4% of his three-pointers.
In the three games he played for the Heat, Waiters averaged 14.0 minutes, 9.3 points, one assist and 3.7 rebounds. He shot 38.5% from the field, 47.1% from three-point range.
“It’s a day-by-day process,” Waiters said. “Like I said, this is my sixth game of the year so it’s about just continuing to get better each day. Step by step. Not try to get it all back in one day. So, that’s the biggest thing for me honestly. Just defense, you know, is just playing hard. Being in the right spots at the right time. You’re going to make mistakes. I’m going to make mistakes, of course, because things are new. But if you play hard, coaches don’t mind.”
The Lakers signed Waiters in March after an impressive workout. He has averaged 13.1 points a game over his eight-year career and eventually, the Lakers hope, Waiters will reach his peak play from earlier in his career.
“I think he’s still a ways away,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said on a video call Tuesday. “I think our whole group is not shooting the ball that well from the perimeter, and I think that’s going to continue to come as he gets his legs under him. Like I said, continuing to gain familiarity with our defensive scheme, our offensive system and the communication and familiarity with his teammates. Those things still have a ways to go, but I think the ceiling is pretty high for what he can do for us. But we’re excited about what he has done so far too.”
VS. OKLAHOMA CITY
When: 3:30 p.m. PDT, Wednesday.
On Air: TV: Spectrum SportsNet, ESPN; Radio: 710, 1330.
UPDATE: Vogel said the plan is for Rondo to arrive in Florida on Wednesday and then “spend a certain period of time outside of the bubble before he’s reintegrated inside of the bubble.” Rondo was expected to be out six to eight weeks after having his procedure last month. … The Thunder is one of the surprise teams in the NBA, holding the sixth spot in the Western Conference. The Thunder have five players averaging in double figures, led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (19.4) and Danilo Gallinari (19.2). All-Star point guard Chris Paul leads OKC in assists (6.8) and steals (1.5).