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.