Dion Waiters

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Dion Waiters
Waiters with the Oklahoma City Thunder
No. 3 – Oklahoma City Thunder
Position Shooting guard
League NBA
Personal information
Born (1991-12-10) December 10, 1991 (age 30)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Listed weight 220 lb (100 kg)
Career information
High school Life Center Academy
(Burlington, New Jersey)
College Syracuse (2010–2012)
NBA draft 2012 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4th overall
Selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers
Playing career 2012–present
Career history
20122015 Cleveland Cavaliers
2015–present Oklahoma City Thunder
Career highlights and awards
Stats at NBA.com

Dion Waiters (born December 10, 1991) is an American professional basketball player for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for Syracuse and was selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Early life

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Dion Waiters Sr. and Monique Brown, Waiters was raised by his mother, who had him when she was 17; his father was in jail at the time of his birth.[1] Four hours after Waiters was born, his grandmother died.[2] Waiters grew up playing basketball wherever he could, regardless of weather or time of day. Away from basketball, his home life revolved around his mother and stepfather, James Barnes.[1]

High school career

As a freshman, Waiters attended Bartram High School and South Philadelphia High School in Philadelphia, but did not play basketball at either school.[3] In his sophomore year of high school, Waiters attended South Kent School. Waiters then played basketball at Life Center Academy his junior and senior years. Following his senior year, Waiters was ranked as the fifteenth best overall recruit according to ESPNU and ranked as the number two best shooting guard in the ESPN 100. Waiters was also ranked as the twenty-ninth best overall recruit by Rivals.com.[4]

College career

Freshman season

Waiters while at Syracuse

In his freshman season at Syracuse, Waiters averaged 6.6 points, 1.5 assists and 1.6 rebounds per game.[5] In a second round loss to Marquette in the NCAA Tournament, Waiters shot 8-for-10 with 18 points.[4]

Sophomore season

In his sophomore season at Syracuse, Waiters averaged 12.6 points, 2.5 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game.[5] He was named the Big East Sixth Man of the Year, earned third team All-Big East honors, was named AP Honorable Mention All-American, and was selected to the All Big East Tournament team.[6]

College statistics

2010–11 Syracuse Orange 34 0 16.3 .411 .329 .813 1.6 1.5 1.1 .1 6.6
2011–12 Syracuse Orange 37 0 24.1 .476 .363 .729 2.3 2.5 1.8 .3 12.6

Professional career

Cleveland Cavaliers (2012–2015)

Waiters was selected fourth overall in the 2012 NBA draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers despite choosing not to work out for any teams prior to the draft. This was a choice he made after receiving a promise from a team in the middle of the lottery that they would draft him if available. Many scouts also found it a surprise that Waiters was drafted so high because he did not start in college and played zone defense at Syracuse.

On January 14, 2013, Waiters scored a career-high 33 points against the Sacramento Kings, doing so on 12-of-18 shooting.[7] Waiters was selected to play in the Rising Stars Challenge game during 2013 NBA All-Star Weekend, along with teammates Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, and Tyler Zeller.[8] Waiters came off the bench to score 23 points for Team Shaq. Over the course of his rookie season, Waiters both started and came off the bench for the Cavaliers. He was consistently bothered by a sprained ankle and loose cartilage in his knee, forcing him to miss 21 games over the course of the year.[9]

After his rookie season, Waiters was graded as the fourth best overall rookie by NBA.com, and placed fifth in NBA Rookie of the Year voting with 21 points.[10]

On February 14, 2014, Waiters participated in the BBVA Rising Stars challenge. He finished the game with 31 points and 7 assists.

On March 18, 2014, Waiters recorded his first career double-double with 17 points and a career-high 11 assists in a loss to the Miami Heat.[11]

On November 5, 2014, Waiters was absent for the U.S. national anthem and was quoted saying that he stayed in the locker room because of his Muslim faith. He later stated that the report about his religious beliefs having anything to do with him skipping the national anthem was entirely false.[12][13]

Oklahoma City Thunder (2015–present)

On January 5, 2015, Waiters was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder from the Cavaliers in a three-team trade that also involved the New York Knicks. Cleveland received Iman Shumpert and J. R. Smith from the Knicks and a first round pick in the 2015 NBA draft from the Thunder, while Cleveland sent Lou Amundson, Alex Kirk, and a second round pick in the 2019 NBA draft to the Knicks, and the Thunder sent Lance Thomas to the Knicks.[14] After a poor debut for the Thunder against the Sacramento Kings on January 7 where he scored 4 points on 1-of-9 shooting, he scored 15 points on 7-of-14 shooting two days later to help the Thunder defeat the Utah Jazz, 99–94.[15] On April 15, 2015, in the team's final game of the season, Waiters tied his career high with 33 points in a 138–113 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.[16]

Waiters garnered a bench role for the Thunder in 2015–16 under new head coach Billy Donovan. He started in just two games for the team over the first half of the season, playing back up to André Roberson. On November 10, 2015, he scored a season-high 25 points in a 125–101 win over the Washington Wizards.[17] With a knee injury to Roberson in late January, Donovan entrusted Waiters with stepping up to a starting role. On January 26, in his first start since November 22, Waiters scored 14 points in a 128–122 overtime win over the New York Knicks.[18] He returned to the bench on February 24 following Roberson's return from injury.[19] On April 6, he tied his season high with 25 points in a 120–115 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.[20] In Game 2 of the Thunder's semi-final series against the San Antonio Spurs, with San Antonio trailing 98–97 with 13.5 seconds remaining and Oklahoma City out of timeouts, Waiters elbowed Spurs guard Manu Ginóbili to get the space needed to inbound the ball.[21] Following the game, Waiters and the referees were highly scrutinized by the public and media personnel.[22]

NBA career statistics

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high

Regular season

2012–13 Cleveland 61 48 28.8 .412 .310 .746 2.4 3.0 1.0 .3 14.7
2013–14 Cleveland 70 24 29.6 .433 .368 .685 2.8 3.0 .9 .2 15.9
2014–15 Cleveland 33 3 23.8 .404 .256 .783 1.7 2.2 1.3 .3 10.5
2014–15 Oklahoma City 47 20 30.3 .392 .319 .625 2.9 1.9 1.0 .2 12.7
2015–16 Oklahoma City 78 15 27.6 .399 .357 .713 2.6 2.0 1.0 .2 9.8
Career 289 110 28.3 .411 .334 .707 2.6 2.5 1.0 .2 12.8


  • Jordan Brand All-American (2010)
  • All-Big East Sixth Man of the Year (2012)
  • Third-team All-Big East (2012)
  • Big East All-Tournament Team (2012)
  • NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month (February 2013)[23]
  • NBA All-Rookie First Team (2013)
  • 2× NBA Rising Star (2013, 2014)


  1. 1.0 1.1 Swartz, Greg (March 27, 2014). "Dion Waiters Is Finally Growing Up Before Our Very Eyes". BleacherReport.com. Retrieved March 27, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Thamel, Pete (March 23, 2012). "Now, Syracuse Guard Restricts Clashes to the Court". NYTimes.com. Retrieved March 23, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Philly's Waiters can't wait to begin NBA career
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Dion Waiters - 2011-12 Men's Basketball". Cuse.com. Retrieved June 19, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Dion Waiters Stats". Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved June 19, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Lamb Named AP Honorable Mention All-America". uconnhuskies.com. March 27, 2012. Retrieved June 19, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Notebook: Kings 124, Cavaliers 118
  8. NBA Rising Stars Challenge 2013 rosters: Get ready to run like mad, Team Shaq
  9. Dion Waiters out with a knee injury
  10. Portland's Lillard named 2012-13 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year
  11. Notebook: Heat 100, Cavaliers 96
  12. Peters, Micah. "Dion Waiters says he skipped anthem because of his Muslim faith, then blasts report". ftw.usatoday.com. USA Today Sports. Archived from the original on 12 November 2014. Retrieved 26 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Pollakoff, Brett. "Dion Waiters calls report he skipped national anthem due to being Muslim 'a damn lie'". nbcsports.com. NBC Sports. Archived from the original on 9 November 2014. Retrieved 26 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Thunder Acquires Dion Waiters". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. January 5, 2015. Retrieved January 5, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Durant leads Thunder past Jazz 99-94". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. January 9, 2015. Retrieved January 11, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Thunder at Minnesota Timberwolves Game Recap – April 15, 2015
  17. Dion Waiters 2015-16 Game Log
  18. Durant scores season-high 44, Thunder beat Knicks in OT
  19. Mayberry, Darnell (February 24, 2016). "Oklahoma City Thunder: Andre Roberson returning to the starting lineup". NewsOK.com. Retrieved February 25, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Trail Blazers defeat Thunder 120-115, clinch playoff berth". NBA.com. April 6, 2016. Retrieved April 7, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Thunder hold on beat Spurs 98-97, even series at 1-1". NBA.com. May 2, 2016. Retrieved May 2, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. O'Donnell, Ricky (May 2, 2016). "Dion Waiters elbows Manu Ginobili from out of bounds, gets away with it". SBNation.com. Retrieved May 2, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Waiters Named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month

External links