Spencer Dinwiddie was the Brooklyn Nets gift that kept on giving. His improved play and clutch time success shone light on a franchise that’s wallowed in its own ineptitude. Dinwiddie was by far the Nets best player this season and is in serious consideration for Most Improved Player.
Spencer Dinwiddie was by far the best Brooklyn Nets player this season and it wasn’t close. He may not have the upside of D’Angelo Russell or athleticism of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson but he is intelligent, cool, calm and collected. At 25 years old, it is questionable just how much upside Dinwiddie possesses. One thing is for certain: Dinwiddie has certainly made a case for a large contractual raise.
Although Dinwiddie’s field goal percentage (38.7) and three point percentage (32.7) took a dive compared to 2016-17, he improved in every other area. In career high minutes (28.7), the former Detroit Piston posted career highs in points per game (10.7), assists (6.6), rebounds (3.2) and steals (0.9). Despite experiencing a career high in turnovers per game (1.9), his 4.1 turnover to assist ratio ranked him second in the entire league. His affinity for taking care of the ball is simply outstanding.
The most outstanding facet of his play came in the clutch this season. According to nbaminer.com, Dinwiddie ranked 12th in total points (99) when there is less than five minutes remaining and neither team ahead by more than five points. In these situations, he managed to shoot 36 percent (31-86) from the field but shot a terrible 18.4 percent from three (7-38). However, inside the last minute of play, Dinwiddie still manages to convert at a 34 percent pace (12-35) ahead of Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo (6th), Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (8th) and Charlotte Hornets point Kemba Walker (11th).
My favourite game winner was on the road against the Detroit Pistons. With 4.7 seconds left, Dinwiddie pump fakes Pistons guard Ish Smith and converts the floater despite being hit by Detroit Center Andre Drummond.
NBA Skills Challenge
As we all know, the All Star weekend is hyped around the All Star game. However, the celebrity NBA game, three point contest and skills challenge also headline the weekend. Dinwiddie was the only Brooklyn Nets representative and came up big, winning the Taco Bell Skills Challenge in fine fashion.
Check out below.
Best Game of the Year
My favourite game of the year was easily Brooklyn’s 112-107 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. What made this win special was the way in which Dinwiddie played. He showed poise and calmness when the game got tight and made excellent decisions with the ball throughout. His deep three point bomb broke Cleveland’s back, easily my best moment as a Nets supporter.
Dinwiddie finished with 22 points (7-13 shooting, 4-8 3PT, 4-4 free throws), 6 assists, 5 rebounds, 1 steal and 2 turnovers in 32 minutes.
Where to next?
Brooklyn is in a bind. Russell, Jeremy Lin, Isaiah Whitehead and Dinwiddie comprise the Nets point guard depth with Russell touted as the future. This season saw coach Kenny Atkinson choose to incorporate a ‘space and pace’ system where the Nets ranked second in three pointers attempted (35.7) and sixth in pace (101.07).
Dinwiddie’s strength lies in decision making and half-court sets where he is able to manipulate defenses. At 6’6, 200 pounds, he utilises his size and subtle changes of speed to beat defenders one on one. He does not possess the overall speed to blow by defenders but his high IQ and savvy play allows him to pass unscathed. Dinwiddie’s skillset seems like a mismatch with Brooklyn’s schemes, thus the Nets must either trade him while his value is high or alter their game plan. This will be a focus this offseason.
As for Dinwiddie, he was spectacular all season long. He has proven himself to be a solid NBA player and should forge himself a steady career.