Heat’s Erik Spoelstra says Dion Waiters’ physique before training camp would determine what his role will be
Dion Waiters’ position with the Miami Heat could largely hinge on his playing shape as he approaches training camp, according to head coach Erik Spoelstra. Waiters has struggled with his playing weight after coming back from a lingering ankle injury, but after finishing the season in a healthy note, he is now in a position to abide by the franchise’s rigorous health standards, ones they’ve become famous for across the league.
“This is a really important summer for Dion Waiters,” said Spoelstra, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. “He’s healthy now. He feels good. He has to work. The next five months, he has to put in a body of work that changes his physique that gets him down to that optimal weight and body fat, which he was not at at the end of the year.”
Waiters recently made a post on Instagram, showing off his revamped and chiseled body after a summer of being fully healthy. Yet this isn’t the first time he’s done so, also resorting to that after his first ankle injury after critics pointed to his notable weight gain.
“If he’s there the first day of training camp, he’ll have the role and impact that he’s looking for. If he’s not — Pat and I are on the same page about this — he won’t. And that’s it. Because he can move the needle in this game when he’s physically right and in world-class shape. That’ll be the focus this summer. I have not forgotten about the player that he was two years ago. It’s time to get back to that.”
Waiters is a microwave-type player that can get buckets in a hurry, but only when his body and mind align. If he can bring the mental focus along with the physical shape, he could soon carve out a role next to Jimmy Butler with little competition keeping him from some strong minutes.