The Rise of Spencer Dinwiddle

By Shane Rabacs ’18

In the first half of the 2017-2018 NBA season, Spencer Dinwiddie has gone from role player to leader on the Brooklyn Nets.

The start of the year started off pretty tame for Dinwiddie. In the position of backup point guard, he averaged nine points and five assists in a mere 21 minutes per game. But then, on November 17, D’Angelo Russell went out with knee surgery, and Dinwiddie was thrown into the starting role for the foreseeable future. Since then, Dinwiddie has averaged 14.7 points and seven assists, highlighted by his 31 points, 8 assist game Monday against Toronto and his near triple double Friday: 20 points, 10 assists and 9 rebounds.

Dinwiddie has had the ball in his hands more, and his confidence has grown over time. He doesn’t look timid. In fact, he is sometimes confident to a fault. Down the stretch of some games, he has taken ill advised threes.

His play has helped keep Brooklyn afloat and still in the playoff picture. They are six games back of the eighth seeded Indiana Pacers.

Dinwiddie plays with the savvy that someone who is 24. He constantly gets guys in the right spots and knows how to draw fouls. With 1.4 turnovers a game, he is near the top of the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio among players who get substantial minutes on a team that plays at the fifth-fastest tempo in the league. In the 1,114 minutes Dinwiddie has been on the floor, the Nets have an offensive rating of 105.4; when he’s off, it goes to 99.2.

Earlier this year, a self proclaimed movement started on twitter to get Dinwiddie a starting spot in this year’s all-star game in Los Angeles. Even though Dinwiddie isn’t on the top vote getter list, you can’t hide it, there is Spencer Dinwiddie #NBAVote tweet everywhere you go on NBA twitter.

When Russell returns, Dinwiddie is expected to stay in the starting lineup. The dynamic between those two will be an interesting storyline to watch, as they both need the ball in their hands to succeed.

 

Advertisements

Troubles in the land

By Matt Engler ’18

The 2017 Cleveland Cavaliers had one of the most volatile off-seasons in the NBA. One of their star players, Kyrie Irving, left for the Boston Celtics in what turned out to be a blockbuster deal. Cleveland acquired an all-star in return and several key role players for the upcoming season. They also acquired former all-stars Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose to provide more veteran leadership and skill. However, even with all of these additions, the Cavaliers are struggling to maintain a .500 winning percentage. Their rough start, while concerning, is nothing they haven’t seen before.

The Cleveland Cavaliers ever since the 2014-15 season have been known to go through slumps throughout their regular season campaign. In the 14-15 season, the team started 7-7 throught the first 14 games. At the end of the 16-17 season the team lost the last 13 of their 25 games. Each of the last three years the Cavs have dominated the playoffs, cruising to the NBA finals on the backs of Lebron James and Kyrie Irving. However this year is the first time Lebron James is playing without his all-star point guard since he made his return to Cleveland. This duo had led the team to three straight NBA finals, and one NBA championship. While Lebron and the Cavs are struggling, the Celtics and Kyrie currently sit top of the Eastern Conference even without injured all-star Gordon Hayward. This brings up the question, can Lebron succeed in Cleveland without Kyrie?

Lebron is currently averaging 28 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists a game. His supporting cast, however, is failing to assist him, and while the Cavs struggled early on they look like they’ve finally found their form.The team is on a 12 game winning streak with key contributors being Dwyane Wade, Kevin Love, and of course Lebron James. This run has been without former MVP point guard Derrick Rose who left the team to deal with personal issues regarding his future in the league. Rose is currently in talks with the Cavs, possible hinting at a return in the near future. Cleaveland can also look forward to injured all-star point guard Isaiah Thomas looking to come back from injury around “January 1 as a potential return date for Thomas (hip), who has not yet played this season,” Marc Stein of ESPN said. The Cavaliers look to be finding their way and could stack up well against teams in East, and likely against the Warriors come June.  

Injuries in the NBA

By Shane Rabacs ’18

The NBA season is underway, and there have already been multiple injuries to players that will keep them out for a extended period of time.

Boston’s Gordon Hayward broke his ankle six minutes into the first game of the season against the Cleveland Cavaliers. He is out for the season, according to the team.

Brooklyn’s Jeremy Lin tore his patella tendon in the first game of the season against Indiana. He is out for the season, according to the team.

New Orleans’ Anthony Davis had a scare with his knee Tuesday. It is unclear how long he will be out.

So why is this happening? The Hayward and Lin injuries can be called “freak injuries,” but maybe there is an underlying problem.

In an effort to cut down on the amount of back to back games a team has in the season, the NBA started the season about two weeks earlier. This means there was a shorter offseason, as training camp started earlier than previous seasons.

Also, there were only four preseason games this year. A drop off from eight last year. Players might not be fully up to “game speed” yet.

Last year there were not nearly as injuries causing as much time out of lineup as this year.

“We are concerned. Only having four preseason games, what we emphasized to our players was that conditioning was going to be vital,” Indiana head coach Nate McMillan said in an interview with Steve Aschburner before the season.

The general consensus is that the earlier season start and shorter offseason is not a cause of all these injuries.

“What was really happening with the preseason games, when you had eight, you used four. So basically what they said was, ‘If you’re really only going to use four, there’s no sense having eight, when you’re not playing [main] guys in some of them,’” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said to Aschburner.

But when asked, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra gave an interesting answer.

“There is some validity to the fact that there is 10 less days of pre-season,” he told reporters last weekend. “Our guys came in (to camp) in tremendous shape. But you still notice that, you feel that. You’re cramming in six games, less practices, and then all of a sudden that first game it was on. I don’t know how many, what percentage of the NBA players were truly ready, were physically ready for how fast and aggressive a real regular-season game is.”

Miami has been hit very hard, with Hassan Whiteside (bruised knee), Rodney McGruder (tibia stress fracture) and Dion Waiters (ankle) all hurt.

“People say 10 days doesn’t matter. It does,” Spoelstra said. “It does matter, but we’ll just have to see how it plays out with the rest of the league.”

 

New signings and new Injuries

By Jake Navarro ’20

After signing new star players like Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, the Celtics were known as a “super team” that had high hopes to make the playoffs. After game one of the regular season, Hayward went down with a broken ankle that may be season ending.

Many Celtics fans were expecting promising things out of this season. Jake Glickman ’20 is a huge Celtics fan that still believes in the team. “The Celtics still have a chance to make it to the National Basketball Association finals,” Glickman said. He explained that the Celtics are a deep team with many players to fill Haywards position. Also with the signing of Kyrie Irving, they still have an all-star that can take over games. Glickman thinks that the third overall pick, Jayson Tatum, will take most of Haywards minutes.

Even though many people feel that the Celtics still have a promising season ahead of them, there are many people who feel that the Celtics will be devastated with the loss of Hayward. “They won’t go farther than the first round of the playoffs, if they even make it that far,” Holden Cohen ’20 said.  Cohen continued to talk about what the loss of Hayward means to the organization. Without the star player and the top scorer of the team, the rest of the players will panic. Many of the other players will look to be the next star player and it will ruin the chemistry of the team and ultimately be the fall of the Celtics for the 2017-2018 season.

Brett Levy ’20 disagrees with Cohen and thinks that the loss of Gordon Hayward will not ruin the Celtics season. “The Celtics will still be better than most teams in the East and will make it deep into the playoffs,” Levy said. He continued by saying that Kyrie Irving is one of the best point guards in the league and can take over games. He thinks that the Celtics biggest problem may be the next couple of games as they are adjusting to the loss of Hayward.

Brad Stevens told Chris Forsberg, an ESPN staff writer, about his thoughts on the injury of Gordon Hayward. “My sole focus has been on Gordon and trying to make sure that we maximize this group that we have right now,” Stephens said. Stephens continued to say that he wasn’t looking to acquire any new players, but he is looking to use the players he has and make the most successful lineups.

Taking his Ball and going home: Lamelo Ball will be homeschooled

By Shane Rabacs ’18

Lamelo Ball, 16, was taken out of Chino Hills High School by his dad Lavar Ball to be homeschooled.

Lavar Ball cited the coach as the reason for pulling his son from the school where he averaged 26.7ppg and once scored 92 points in a game.

“I’m not dealing with the coach over there,” Lavar Ball told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Jeff Borzello. “I’m not dealing with the administration over there. I don’t want no distractions on Melo. So therefore I’m going to homeschool him and make him the best basketball player ever.”

“I started off liking the move, but after hearing some of the statements, I think it is a bad decision for his future,” Mark Didio ’20 said.

This puts into question Ball’s future in basketball. He also has a signature shoe, the Melo Ball 1, that made his NCAA eligibility questionable as he is verbally committed to UCLA.

Lamelo stars in “Ball in the Family,” a reality show broadcasted on Facebook that follows the Ball family, who have been gaining popularity in the past year.  

“I am excited to see how the schooling process works on the show. There are certain standards that have to be met and I want to see if they can follow it,” Didio said.

Lavar is reportedly hiring English and math tutors for Ball, which are his two most important subjects according to a source inside the Ball camp.

“Math and English are his stronger subjects so he can count his money and communicate when it’s not right,” a source told TMZ Sports.

Ball will continue to play AAU ball and try to continue his path to the NBA.