Dion Waiters still hasn’t dressed for a game in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform. He was officially signed on March 5th and was initially held out of games due to not enough practice with the team. Of course, the season was suspended a little over a week after that, putting Waiters’ Lakers career on hold. He’s officially in the swing of things with the team now, albeit not in the Lakers’ own practice facility but in the Disney bubble. This isn’t necessarily his first time being up close with players like LeBron James, J.R. Smith, or JaVale McGee, but this is definitely the first time he’s been exposed to the Lakers’ young, but polarizing players in Kostas Antetokounmpo (22 years old) and Talen Horton-Tucker (19 years old).
Waiters was asked about what he has seen from the two players, praising them by saying they have plenty of “upside” (reported by Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen & Roll).
Dion Waiters just said Kostas Antetokounmpo and Talen Horton-Tucker have surprised him so far. He thinks they're really good young players, and he says both have "a lot of upside."
— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) July 17, 2020
Faigen also reports that Waiters has been mentoring Talen Horton-Tucker in particular. That part is especially interesting, as “THT” is somewhat of an undersized guard just like Dion Waiters (they’re both 6’4”), with both being able to improvise the way they control their bodies to score all over the court. Although many have scoffed at the idea of Waiters being an impactful NBA player, he has had some impressive scoring stretches in his career. It would be amazing for Horton-Tucker to pick up on some of that at such a ripe age of 19.
Kostas Antetokounmpo has jokingly been referred to as a bargaining chip for the Lakers’ in their possible future pursuits of his brother, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Kostas is not too bad though and shares his brother’s extreme length that inherently makes him an average defender, at worst. Still, Kostas’ offensive game will have to be more polished if he ever wants to be a part of an NBA rotation.