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Dion Waiters relishes learning opportunity alongside Dwyane Wade

Heat, Dion Waiters, Dwyane Wade

Though he’s played alongside some of the NBA’s best athletes over the course of his career, Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters feels that he’s learning the most from Dwyane Wade.

Waiters, now 27 years of age, was sidelined for a year due to an ankle injury. However, now that he’s made his return to the hardwood, he can’t stop watching Wade.

“He’s such a great basketball player in making plays, and he’s so smart,” Waiters said of Wade in a recent interview with Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “So when I’m out there and he’s got the ball and he’s doing his thing, I’m watching.

“I’d be taking notes in my head, of the things that he’s doing on the floor, right then and there — the quick decision making, baiting the defense. I’ll just be looking at him,” Waiters added.

Wade, 36 and admittedly playing in his last season, has established himself as a Hall of Fame caliber player. Waiters, who’s style is somewhat similar to Wade’s, says he tries to dissect every play as a learning tool.

“Sometimes I get caught up looking at him, trying to dissect everything he’s doing right there in that one play,” said Waiters. “So I’ll just be out there learning and I think that’s a great tool for me.

“I already talk to him so much, like we pick each other’s brains and things like that. But when I’m out there, I’m just watching him. I’m watching him on the attack. Like I said, I’m just dissecting the game when I’m out there.”

Waiters made his season debut in a win over the Cavs on Wednesday, scoring seven points with two rebounds, three assists and one three-pointer in 11 minutes. In his second game back — a 103-99 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday — the former No. 4 overall pick led Miami in scoring, racking up 15 points and four assists off the bench.

His recovery process is still ongoing, but it seems Waiters is content with learning from one of the best shooting guards the league has ever known.