The Cleveland Cavaliers welcomed their two new draft picks to Cleveland Clinic Courts in Independence Friday afternoon.
“We did an enormous amount of research with these two men,” General Manager Chris Grant said. “All of the background that we did made us feel very comfortable.”
The Cavs used their fourth overall pick on Syracuse guard Dion Waiters. Waiters was the Big East Sixth Man of the year as a sophomore and averaged over 12 points per game. He was a surprise pick to most Cavaliers fans.
The team never worked Waiters out, but Grant said he spent lots of time on campus making sure he knew what Cleveland was getting.
“I have to improve every aspect of my game,” Waiters said. “I think I can shoot but I have to continue to keep working.”
Waiters is from Philadelphia and said his childhood experiences are the reason why he is a tough, confident player.
“Coming from a single parent and seeing what she went through with her confidence…she always smiled and didn’t let me see that anything was wrong. My confidence grew and kept growing and that’s what made me who I am,” Waiters said.
Scott likes the fact that Waiters has overcome adversity. He hopes the young player can transfer that confidence to the NBA court early.
“First day he is going to have to warn that spot but playing with Kyrie could be a dynamic duo,” Scott said.
The Cavaliers also needed a post player heading into the 2012 NBA Draft and they came out with seven foot tall center Tyler Zeller from University of North Carolina.
“Tyler’s only negative is that he was a senior,” Scott said. “He is the most complete. There are a lot of great things about him that we really like.”
Tyler was ACC Player of the Year for the 2011-2012 season. He has incredible mobility for his height and a soft touch around the basket. He was drafted by Dallas 17th overall, but Cleveland traded its 24th, 33rd, and 34th overall picks for him.
“My agent told me a minute or two before the pick was made…so I had to continue to think to myself Dallas, Dallas, Dallas,” Zeller said.
The two will get straight to work during summer league starting mid July.