With the Jeremy Lin saga showing no sign of ending, the Nets are getting desperate. It has now been 16 games since Lin suffered a hamstring injury, and Brooklyn is just 4-12 over that stretch. To make matters worse, we still don’t have an official timetable for his return. After waiving Greivis Vasquez and Yogi Ferrell, the Nets are left with a huge hole at the point guard position.
It’s no surprise, then, that Sean Marks decided to look at the free agent market. A couple of hours ago, it was announced that the Nets signed Spencer Dinwiddie to a partially guaranteed three-year contract. The 6-6 guard had some impressive showings for the Bulls’ D-League team this season. The Nets are probably hoping he can be a success story similar to the one of Sean Kilpatrick.
Coming out of high school, Dinwiddie was considered a 3-star recruit. He opted to join the University of Colorado, where he immediately made the starting lineup. During his first two seasons with the Colorado Buffaloes, he led the team to two consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. In his junior year, he helped Colorado win 14 out of their first 16 games. Unfortunately, an ACL injury in January ruled him out of action until the end of the season. During his time with the Buffaloes, Dinwiddie averaged 13 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.
At the 2014 draft, Dinwiddie was selected by the Detroit Pistons with the 38th pick. He spent the following two seasons in Detroit, never really getting a chance to prove himself. Overall, he played 46 games for them, averaging 13.3 minutes and 4.4 points per game. In his only career start against the Chicago Bulls, he recorded 12 points and 9 assists. During the 2016 off-season, he was traded to the Bulls. After appearing in five preseason games, he was waived and sent to their D-League affiliate, the Windy City Bulls. He seemed to have found his mojo there, having averaged 19.4 points and 8.1 assists in nine games.
Standing at 6-6 and with a 205-pound frame, Dinwiddie is an excellent physical specimen for a point guard. He also has a quick first step and good body control, which makes him a potent finisher in traffic. He is a versatile scorer, capable of creating open looks for himself fairly reliably. He was a consistent threat from beyond the arc in college, converting 38.6% of his three-point attempts. He is a solid pick-and-roll player, willing to pass the ball if the situation calls for it. He seems to have completely recovered from the ACL tear, and his athleticism hasn’t suffered whatsoever.
Despite being a good shooter during his college career, Dinwiddie had trouble translating that part of his game to the NBA level. During his two seasons with the Pistons, he made just 13 of his 75 three-point attempts. His decision making is suspect, and he still needs to prove he’s capable of running an offense. Most of the time, he doesn’t seem too interested in creating for anyone other than himself. He’s a minus defender, mostly due to his unwillingness to put in extra effort. He’s often taking too long to fight through screens and contest the shots, and his defensive stats suffer for it. He has the fundamentals to improve on that end, but he needs to start looking into his bad habits.
Given the Nets’ current struggles at the point guard position, Dinwiddie might get a chance to prove himself very quickly. Isaiah Whitehead is the only other healthy point guard on the roster, and he hasn’t exactly been impressive this season. Sean Kilpatrick and Randy Foye are doing their part, but they’re more accustomed to off-ball work. The team could definitely use another option, and the fact that Dinwiddie was signed to a three-year deal means that Marks and Atkinson are expecting a lot of him.
And if you’ve wondered how he earned “The Mayor” nickname, that’s something that has followed him since his time in Colorado. Apparently, he was called that due to his cool mustache and the ability to run the show on the court. The Nets will certainly be hoping he still has that kind of ability, because the schedule doesn’t get easier.