What will happen to Spencer Dinwiddie’s role when D’Angelo Russell returns?
According to Nets beat writers, Kenny Atkinson said he’s likely to pair Dinwiddie with Russell in the backcourt with both the 1 and 2 positions seen as interchangeable.
Kenny Atkinson on prospect of playing Russell & Dinwiddie together in the #Nets backcourt: “I’m comfortable with that…We’ll make the decision when it presents itself, but I’m comfortable with it.”— Brian Lewis (@NYPost_Lewis) January 9, 2018
@BrooklynNets coach Kenny Atkinson said @Dloading will be phased in gradually but no timeline for when that happens. At same time, he's in favor of playing DLo with @SDinwiddie_25 because Russell proved he could play off ball with Lin & Spencer's size makes good pairing.— Greg Logan (@GregLogan1) January 9, 2018
Atkinson also said Caris LeVert will continue to play a big role.
This doesn’t come as much of a surprise considering how well Dinwiddie has played since Russell and before that, Jeremy Lin, got hurt. Nor does it change much of the game plan because they were going to do this with Lin and Russell anyway.
We’ve touched on this several times. While Russell exhibits very good court vision at the 1, it’s probably better for him and the team if he spends more time working off the ball. Atkinson’s motion offense gives players the opportunity to work around off-ball screens to free things up.
As somebody who likes to have the ball in their hands, DLo will almost assuredly bring the ball up, but after that, Atkinson can pick and choose when they want him to man the point or work off the ball. It will give him more opportunities for open three-pointers rather than pulling up every time.
For Dinwiddie, playing on or off the ball won’t be an issue either, as he’s shooting a (somewhat) reliable 36 percent from three-point this season — 47 percent in catch-and-shoot scenarios; 30 percent when he pulls up.
As Logan points out in his tweet, Atkinson also likes the size the two possess. Dinwiddie is 6’6” with a 7’0” wingspan, DLo is 6’5” with a 7’0” spread as well.
LeVert is similarly blessed.
The Nets don’t lose size with either changing position. Again, if anything, it’s likely to be a “pick your poison” type of scenario. This is crucial in finding mismatches on both sides of the ball.
It’s important they utilize this on the defensive end, too. Size should play a factor in putting hands in the passing lanes against smaller guards. That in turn should help create fastbreak opportunities.
Brooklyn’s defense has been solid of late and it’s important Russell shows more defensive effort than he had in the few games he’s played this season.
Then, with Dinwiddie, Russell, and LeVert all healthy, at least one of the three will be on the floor at all times - if not two of the three. It’s more weapons for a team that utilizes the one and two more than any other positions.
Oh yeah, and all three are 24 or younger. Russell is 21; LeVert, 23; Dinwiddie, 24.
There will be questions when Russell returns, however. One might be how Russell may impact the flow of the offense. After all, the Nets are moving the ball extremely well with Dinwiddie at point. Will someone like Russell slow down the offense if he wants to take his man in an iso situation?
These are the little things that will be asked soon. Nonetheless, they’re good problems for Atkinson and the coaching staff to have.