Although the Miami Heat have gotten off to a surprising 9-3 start, good enough for second place in the Eastern Conference, something of a dark cloud hangs over the team.
Guard Dion Waiters is serving a 10-game suspension for what the Heat termed “conduct detrimental to the team.”
During a visit to his alma mater, Syracuse University, Waiters talked about his current state of mind.
“I’m not going to lie to you, I’m in a great place,” he said to The Post-Standard. “I can only control what I can control at the end of the day, so some things you just can’t allow to take your head the other way, some things happen for a reason. If you stay locked in, if you believe and trust in yourself, trust in the work you put in, you know, it’s a minor setback. It happens. It’s life. You learn from it. The only thing I can do is move forward. Stay focused. Stay even-keeled. Let everything else take care of itself.”
The drama surrounding Waiters began when he complained about not getting enough playing time during the exhibition season and missed three consecutive days of practice.
Heat president Pat Riley responded by suspending Waiters to start the regular season.
The guard then took shots at coach Erik Spoelstra and rookie teammate Tyler Herro on social media.
Then earlier this month, he reportedly had a panic attack after eating a cannabis-infused gummy while on a team flight to Los Angeles.
It’s a real shame that Waiters has instigated these incidents because he has the talent and skill to help a team that’s looking to prove it truly belongs among the NBA’s elite.
When healthy and focused, he’s a good 3-point shooter and can provide the Heat with some overall scoring punch.
Waiters is coming off an offseason during in which he reportedly worked very hard to lose weight and get into perhaps the best shape of his life.
He’ll be eligible to return to the lineup on Dec. 1, when the Heat travel to the New York area to face the Brooklyn Nets.