Spencer Dinwiddie is writing one of those feel-good chapters which has become difficult to ignore around the NBA. He’s emerged as a key piece for the Brooklyn Nets in their rotation.
For a second consecutive season, the Nets’ backcourt has been ravaged by injuries. The news just broke that lead guard D’Angelo Russell will be out indefinitely after having arthroscopic surgery to his left knee.
Dinwiddie was already seeing increased minutes after Jeremy Lin was lost for the season to a knee injury on opening night. Now with Russell sidelined, the opportunity has widened for the 6’6, 24-year old to take full advantage of the unexpected job opening for Brooklyn’s full-time point guard.
If there’s any doubt remaining that Dinwiddie’s up for the challenge, he’s doing his best to erase it one game at a time. His latest example was a masterful 25-point performance which lead the Nets to a 118-107 win over the Utah Jazz, Friday night at Barclays Center.
Besides the points, a career high, Dinwiddie was everything and more on this night. He also tallied eight assists and five rebounds, and he brought a calm and poise to the game for the Nets.
But what stood out the most, in 31 minutes of play, is Dinwiddie registered zero turnovers. It’s another reason he’s earned the trust of his teammates and head coach Kenny Atkinson.
Especially when the Nets began to show signs of slippage in the third quarter, they allowed Utah to slice a 22-point lead down to nine heading into the fourth. That’s when Atkinson went back to his guy.
“That was huge,” Atkinson said afterwards, almost now at a loss for words on how well Dinwiddie’s performed for him. “We got Spencer back in the game to get us organized and stabilized. It’s good for our morale, good for our confidence, but it’s not a surprise. We’ve talked all year that Spencer has made a step in development.”
He’s also on pace for a career high in three-point percentage, he was 6 of 10 against the Jazz.
Dinwiddie’s work ethic and style of play have made him a fan favorite at Barclays. He can break his opponent down off the dribble, but picks his spots when to do so. He’s capable of making the flashy pass but puts an emphasis on making the right one. The team thrives with him on the court.
There’s no denying the improvement across the board in Dinwiddie’s game. When the Nets signed him last December there were plenty of unknowns for where he’d fit in the team’s plans. Give him credit for making his own way by putting in the work.
Dinwiddie isn’t an overnight success story, he’s been putting his time in since the Detroit Pistons used their second round draft pick in 2014 on him.
Through hard work and not giving up on himself, he’s earned every minute the Nets are now trusting him with to be their leader.