Tremont Waters was a consensus top 50 high school recruit in 2017, and has been tearing up non-conference play for LSU. In 9 games (through December 17), Waters is averaging 18.2 PPG, 6.3 APG, 3.4 RPG, 2.6 SPG, and 3.4 TOPG on 48.6% shooting from the field, 43% from 3, and 80% from the line. Waters is undersized at 5’11, but has still been one of the most dynamic prospects in the conference.
Waters is listed at 5’11, but finishes well at the rim and has excellent scoring abilities.
- Waters is adequate at running an offense. Waters is able to run plays well, and he is patient with the offense. LSU runs some NBA plays often, such as curls and pick & pop. Waters excels at finding players off of screens, and despite his lack of size, he has great vision, even against double teams.
- As mentioned above, Waters has excellent vision. He is lethal at the drive and kick thanks to his driving ability and his great vision. He will benefit playing with NBA level shooting, and shooters will benefit from playing with him.
- Very good ball handler and excellent ball control.
- Excellent scorer that can attack the basket or shoot the three. Waters is adept at making deep threes, regardless of how tight the defense is. Waters can also attack the paint at ease thanks to a quick first step and very good touch around the rim. Waters is able to finish well versus length at the rim.
- Waters is undersized at 5’11, and his upside is likely more limited because of the lack of size. He must also continue to add strength, as that will help him finish well at the rim in the NBA.
- Waters is a defensive liability. LSU is able to hide him well, but his lack of length and strength makes him easy to drive on and makes it hard for him to close out well. He is very smart at reading the passing lanes, but overall is ineffective as an on-ball defender.
- Waters lacks excellent athleticism. He is quick, but not speedy and does not display his vertical athleticism in game. This combined with his height will hinder his upside.
- Waters sometimes goes for the flashy pass instead of the simple pass within the offense. This will develop with more playing time and maturity, but he must continue to seek the simple and effective play over the flashy play. This can be part of an explanation behind his high turnovers number.
Overall, Waters shows many NBA skills that I see translating, such as his scoring abilities and the ability to run an offense and make smart plays. However, I wonder what his NBA role is. Could he be a spark plug off the bench, or would he need to start? His lack of defensive prowess makes someone with his playing style, a la DJ Augustin, easy to bring off the bench to help run an offense and to get rapid-fire buckets.
NBA comparison: DJ Augustin
If the Mavs drafted Tremont Waters, likely in the second round, I believe he would be a good fit for a few reasons:
- Rick Carlisle knows how to utilize undersized guards. While we know how frustrating it can be at times to see the lack of size, some of the best lineups Rick runs each year is with multiple point guards who happen to be undersized.
- Rick Carlisle is also great at hiding defensive deficiencies in his point guards. JJ Barea is not a bad defender, but was significantly worse in Minnesota on the defensive end than he ever has been in Dallas. This is due to Carlisle running a variety of defenses and knowing where to put his guards on defense.
- Waters runs a lot of pick & pop and utilizes the drive & kick at LSU, which are both integral parts of the Mavericks’ offense. Without those, the Mavs’ high shooting numbers are not possible. Waters could help replace Devin Harris, should he leave after this season, and JJ Barea down the road. Waters also has a high motor, which is essential for playing for Rick Carlisle.