Are things going to turn around for the Miami Heat, when Dion Waiters finally returns?
The Miami Heat are off to a dismal 9-14 start in the 2018-19 season and not much has gone right to this point.
Amidst the disappointing start, is the cloudiness surrounding Dion Waiters and his health, and it raises the question of what will actually change once Waiters does return.
Waiters was signed to a four-year, $52 million deal by the Heat during the summer of 2017, after an impressive first season with the team, where he nearly averaged a career-high in points, scoring 15.8 points per game.
This deal was offered despite Waiters having missed time that season with an ankle injury, appearing in just 46 games.
After re-injuring his ankle last season, in the first year of his new contract, Waiters was forced to undergo season-ending ankle surgery, causing him to miss 52 games and has yet to play this season, with a return date still not in sight.
The situation has caused many to question whether the Heat made a mistake in re-signing Waiters, but he can still be of value to the team once he returns.
In the team’s most recent loss to the Orlando Magic, the offense completely shut down and drama returned with Hassan Whiteside leaving for the locker room with time still on the clock, in the fourth quarter.
There don’t seem to be any imminent moves expected to change the course of this team, and Waiters’ eventual return is the one thing that has the potential to help the Heat.
Whenever he does return, Waiters will be able to provide multiple tools that have simply been missing so far this season.
In his time with the Heat, Waiters has shown the ability to take games over himself, most notably in his 33-point game performance against the Golden State Warriors, in which he made a game-winning 3-pointer. Outside of spurts from Dwyane Wade and inconsistent waves from Richardson, no other player on the Heat has shown the ability to dominate opponents and keep the offense on track.
Waiters’ mentality, though, is what can be of most aid for the Heat.
On multiple occasions, Waiters has spoke about his upbringing and how it taught him to never give up, something that has been apparent on the court with not only his will to win, but also his inability to accept a loss.
The Heat are in a fragile period right now, with the actions of Whiteside drawing heavy media attention and the disastrous home losses piling up.
Waiters’ one downfall can be his inconsistency, but while he won’t necessarily solve these problems for the Heat, he will be able to keep the train on the tracks once he makes his way back to the court.
His return is still unknown, but the prospect of Waiters back and healthy with the Heat, can really only mean good things.