Dion Waiters: ‘I feel like if I had a therapist, my career would’ve been 10 times better’

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Former Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters shared a lot about his NBA career and the last few seasons that he’s been out of the league in a recent interview with Bleacher Report.

Waiters, who lasted played for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2019-20 season, believes that his NBA career would have been much better if he had a therapist during it.

“I want the world to know, especially in our community, that it’s OK to have a therapist, man,” Waiters said. “There’s nothing wrong with it. People who are very successful might not have many problems, they even have a therapist. We all need it. And you know how I came up in Philly with all the trauma I’ve been through. The shootings, the killings, and all that. My story is dark. I feel like if I had a therapist, my career would’ve been 10 times better. Plus, I feel so much better because I’m not holding anything in. You can exhale.”

Waiters spoke out a lot about his mental health in the interview, offering an interesting perspective into his life and how he’s dealt with life outside the NBA.

The No. 4 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Waiters won an NBA title with the Lakers in the 2019-20 season. However, that season was a rough one, as he was suspended by the Miami Heat early in that campaign for conduct detrimental to the team.

Eventually, Miami traded Waiters to the Memphis Grizzlies that season and was waived, which cleared the way for him to sign with the Lakers later on in the 2019-20 season. Los Angeles went on to beat Miami in the NBA Finals.

Waiters was a member of the Heat from the 2016-17 season through the start of the 2019-20 campaign. He had one of the best seasons of his career in Miami in the 2016-17 season, averaging 15.8 points per game while shooting 39.5 percent from beyond the arc.

He broke into the league with the Cleveland Cavaliers and was selected to an All-Rookie team in the 2012-13 season. Waiters also played for the Oklahoma City Thunder during his NBA career.

While Waiters has been out of the league for a few seasons, he still believes he has something that he can offer to a team if they take a chance on him. He’s also still just 31 years old.

“A team would get a guy that can come in and play right away and contribute on the court and in the locker room,” Waiters said. “I can still play-make, score and be a dog on defense. I’m still confident in my abilities, but I have a better mindset of team dynamics and knowing that you have to do what’s asked of you.

“That’s the biggest thing I took away from my absence is the appreciation.”

Waiters has career averages of 13.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game while shooting 41.2 percent from the field and 34.6 percent from beyond the arc.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.