When Dion Waiters signed a two-year deal with the Miami Heat last summer, no one was sure how’d he pan out. Waiters had developed a reputation as a streaky shooter, and one whose shot selection was akin to receiving a 7-2 hand every deal in Texas Hold Em’—the worst.
But in his first season in South Beach, Waiters blossomed. He posted career highs in field goal percentage (42 percent) and 3-pointers (39 percent), while averaging 15.8 points per game, the most since his sophomore season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Though he missed a chunk of the season due to injury, he helped the Heat turn a dismal 11-30 start into a 41-41 finish, narrowly missing the playoffs.
Several factors were at play in Waiters’ rebirth. Guaranteed playing time allowed him to settle into a routine, and he no longer had to defer on every possession to guys like Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, then Kevin Durant. But what might be most important of all is Waiters’ conditioning.
Heat president Pat Riley is known for having all new additions to the roster pose for a “before” picture when they arrive, then an “after” photo at the end of the season, to show the effects of the Heat’s strength and conditioning program. Waiters shared his via Snapchat, and the results are fairly stunning.
It appear that Waiters not only shed excess weight and turned it into muscle, but that his core and chest became infinitely more chiseled. Waiters is the latest player proving that the Heat’s training program is no joke.