Eastern Notes: LeBron, Waiters, Jennings, Knicks

LeBron James endorses Dion Waiters‘ new sixth man role for the Cavs, writes Chris Haynes of The Plain Dealer. “For the best of the team, that should be Dion’s role,” James said. “Dion comes off the bench and brings us that scoring mentality but more than that, he brings us another defender off the bench, which we need. Someone that’s tough, someone that can guard one through three. It’s a new role, but it’s a good role for him.” Waiters is beginning to embrace his role as well. “I got to do whatever I got to do for the better of the team,” Waiters said. “If it’s starting, if it’s coming off the bench, if it’s the water boy, I got to do it. Whatever is best for the team.” Some have suggested that Waiters was not ready to sacrifice for the betterment of the team; perhaps this is a step in the right direction for the Cavs.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • LeBron’s pleas for patience regarding the Cavs early season struggles go against a number of moves the organization has made this past offseason, Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel writes. If Cleveland was truly taking the long-view approach, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett  would still be on the roster instead of in Minnesota, and the team wouldn’t have added so many aging veterans, Winderman opines.
  • Brandon Jennings doesn’t dwell on his past with the Bucks, writes Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Gardner notes that Jennings could have had more success in Milwaukee if Andrew Bogut hadn’t gotten seriously injured during Jennings’ rookie year or if Monta Ellis hadn’t left the team in free agency. Both players are arguably in better situations than Jennings is after leaving the Bucks, but the point guard is being patient with the Pistons this season.  “I’m just staying positive,” Jennings said. “It’s a long season. We’re still trying to find our identity with a new coach, a new system. It’s definitely going to take time.”
  • The Knicks‘ early-season struggles are more about team chemistry than learning the triangle offense, opines Harvey Araton of The New York Times. Araton points out that missing Jose Calderon, who was set to be the team’s starting point guard, as well as the team’s lack of long-term options in the frontcourt hinders New York’s ability to implement the offense that Phil Jackson has won 11 titles with. The Knicks have no players at the center or power forward positions signed past this season with Amar’e Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani, Jason Smith, Quincy Acy, Travis Wear and Samuel Dalembert all set to become free agents at the end of the season.

Eddie Scarito contributed to this post.

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