Stan Van Gundy isn’t only the head coach of the Detroit Pistons. He’s the president of basketball operations, too. He runs the show, makes the trades.
One of those trades you might think he regrets, the one in June 2016 when he traded Spencer Dinwiddie to Chicago for big man Cameron Bairstow, who he then waived. A bookkeeping move. Bairstow went back to Australia, played for the Brisbane Bullets, got hurt and was never heard from again.
Dinwiddie, of course, has thrived since the Nets picked him up six months later after the Bulls waived him and he wound up with the Windy City Bulls of the G-League.
So, Stan, bad move?
“I’m happy for him,” Van Gundy said Tuesday after Pistons practice.
“We let him go and then Chicago let him go. You can go around the league and find a number of guys like that. They’ve been let go a few times. Did we make a mistake? Did Chicago make a mistake? Did getting cut change his approach?
“You don’t have the answers to that, but a lot of it goes on.”
Yeah, but a lot of those players don’t succeed like Dinwiddie.
“I’m not saying we didn’t make a mistake, but it’s not simple,” Van Gundy said. “I don’t know or not. I just know he’s playing well and I’m happy for him.”
Dinwiddie of course is happy, too. Not only is he averaging 14.5 and 7 since taking over at the point after D’Angelo Russell went down seven weeks ago, he is currently on a tear, averaging 25.7 points and 7.3 assists in the last three games, which includes a new career-high in points (31). He also leads the NBA in assist/turnover ratio and ranks fourth among NBA point guards in real plus/minus.
To be fair to SVG, the Dinwiddie that Nets fans see is not the Dinwiddie in Detroit. He did show flashes, but he was stuck behind Reggie Jackson and Steve Blake. And he developed that three-point shot in Brooklyn. And to be fair to Dinwiddie, he’s made the most of his considerable talents with the Nets.
Is the Nets point guard motivated when he faces the team that drafted him in 2014? Dinwiddie is frank. It’s not just another game for him.
“Of course,” he told Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press last March when he helped Brooklyn beat Detroit. “If your first job fired you, and you came back and was like, ‘What’s up, fam; I’m with (my dream job) now.’ I love everybody in the organization, it’s just great to beat them.”
Wednesday begins another chapter.
Is it possible Dinwiddie might be traded again? That was the subject of a short conversation yesterday on ESPN’s “Hoop Collection” podcast.
Brian Windhorst suggested that “Dinwiddie’s stock is high right now. Really high,” so it might the best time to deal him.
But Jackie MacMullan noted that during her research for a piece on the Nets last May, the front office told her how much they liked the 24 year old.
“He’s done so well for them. They really like him,” replied MacMullan. “Last year I did a piece, which absolutely nobody read, but I did enjoy it nonetheless and they were high on Spencer Dinwiddie. And then Caris is the other one they’re high on. LeVert. Those two guys. They really had some hopes for them being part of what they want to build around. That’s the premise.”
- Ex-Detroit Pistons G Spencer Dinwiddie excelling with Brooklyn Nets - Vince Ellis - Detroit Free Press