Editor’s Note: This article was published prior to news that the NBA was suspending its season indefinitely. Dion Waiters will no longer suit up for the South Bay Lakers, as the G League followed suit and suspended its own season.
Original story follows.
After patiently waiting to hear his number called on the bench, Dion Waiters will make his highly-anticipated debut for the Lakers on Friday — well, sort of. According to a report by Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times, Waiters will suit up and play for the South Bay Lakers when they host the Agua Caliente Clippers at the ULCA Health Training Center in El Segundo on Friday.
Sources: Lakers guard Dion Waiters going to play for South Bay Lakers Friday against Agua Caliente Clippers in El Segundo.— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) March 12, 2020
It’s not unusual for players to get assigned to the G League as part of their injury rehab. Just last week, the Golden State Warriors assigned two-time league MVP Stephen Curry to their G League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, so he could get extra reps before returning to the court for the first time in over four months. What is a little strange is for a completely healthy, seven-year NBA veteran to not only getting assigned to the G League, but play in a game. Waiters is a special case, though.
Despite being in good health for most of this season, Waiters only played 42 total minutes in three games for the Miami Heat, the last of which was played on Jan. 28. Even though Waiters is to blame for how much he’s played this season, the point still stands: It’s been a while since he’s seen an NBA court, and with how much his conditioning has fluctuated over the course of his seven-year career, the Lakers have every right to take extra precautions.
This could also be seen as a way of the Lakers showing Waiters that he has to earn his minutes on the team, similar to how they gave Dwight Howard a non-guaranteed contract last the summer. Regardless, there always seems to be a method to the madness with this year’s Lakers team, and even if there’s not, at least there’s a chance we’ll get to see Waiters take over Friday’s game like he did in the 2014 NBA Rising Stars Game.