Miami Heat: Dispatch from Waiters Island, week two

MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 1: Dion Waiters
MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 1: Dion Waiters /

Who’s ready for another dispatch from Waiters Island?

Sometimes buckets are not enough.

I imagine that may be a slightly foreign concept to Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters, who has dedicated his life’s work to bucket-getting, completing his David last season against the Golden State Warriors when he hit the buzzer beater in regulation. It was a moment of enlightenment and salvation for those of us marooned on Waiters Island, and we welcomed our new messiah with open arms.

Of course, Waiters was a legend even before Miami, but for all the wrong reasons. Marooned in isolated areas of the court, abandoned by his teammates, not recognized as the genius of his time. It took Miami and a “bet it all on yourself” deal for him to unlock the part of himself that the remaining seven residents (I and Zach Lowe are neighbors, but there are a lot of acres between us) of Waiters Island, always knew was there.

Partially it was the chemistry with Goran Dragic, the pass-first savant always able to create for himself and for others like he sees three seconds into the future. In other ways, it was due to Miami’s team-first mentality, which I assume was an adjustment for both Waiters and the Heat after being dominated by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

I wonder if Waiters sat in the locker room, all alone, after that first game and wondered to himself: “hey, so this is what touching the ball feels like.”

It was even more surprising to see Dion in a slump, coming off getting paid and getting a verbal commitment from president Pat Riley, which I imagine feels a lot like it felt for all those mob guys to be in the presence of the Godfather (in The Godfather) and be part of the family (or familia, I don’t know, I’m not Italian).

But I digress.

It has been a somewhat tough start for both the Heat and Waiters, enough for some residents to reconsider their timeshare. If the latest performances are to judge, the panic was premature.

Benched for the final stretch on Sunday, Waiters got the jolt he needed to remind his new/old team and his new/old teammates, about who exactly they were dealing with. And what kind of buckets they were missing. Sitting a Boston Celtics game for someone who believes that they’re the be-all, end-all bucket getter on this God’s green Earth, I imagine feels a lot like getting knocked out by Mike Tyson.

It hurts. Spiritually, mentally, physically.

The good part is that Waiters exploded for 33 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves (the bad part is that it was still in a tough loss). It was one of his more efficient games, as he went to town, putting the Wolves defense through a cheese grater through fourth quarter and overtime (21 points in that stretch). The Heat restocked their shares on Waiters Island (37% USG that game) for one game, and their investment almost paid off in the end.

Perhaps the answer to recent struggles is zoning?

Perhaps we have to rezone Waiters Island to the bench, as Dion does a lot of damage running with the second unit, where he is the focal point of the offense. Perhaps he needs to launch less from three (1-for-8 against the Wolves), because when he went into the paint he was damn near unstoppable. It was like watching someone drop a Lion in a puppy den.

Whatever it is, the Wolves game was an indicator that the old Waiters is still there. The one who sold us all investments on sunny, side beaches of And-One Peninsula.

Next: Is the Miami Heat's lackluster start a cause for concern?

We just have to be a little bit more patient.