Spencer Dinwiddie is, of course, the Nets feel-good story of the Nets season. Young player gets rescued from D-League, shows he belongs, wins a few games and then, the NBA Skills Challenge. Great story!
Can he go even higher? Kenny Atkinson thinks he can and thinks there’s enough time left in this season to show it.
“He’s come a long way for a guy who was trying to get back in the league basically. Great job by [general manager] Sean [Marks] and his group identifying the talent and the person,” Atkinson told beat writers Tuesday.
“His growth, his confidence has shot through the roof. What we’re looking for now is to make another step. That’s a challenge for him. He’s had a really good season, and I think there’s another level he could take it to.”
And Atkinson says he knows what Dinwiddie needs to show to get to next level.
“It’s consistency. That separates the good guys from the great guys. He definitely can improve there. He’s improving with his consistency. The second thing is become a two-way player. You look at really great players in this league, they play both ends. That’s an area of improvement for him. His defense is improving, it’s gotten better since the beginning. But we’d love to see him … do it on both ends.”
Atkinson also admitted that Dinwiddie’s shooting woes before the Break may have been due to his big minutes.
‘Fatigue does that to you. You settle or take contested shots when you could get to the rim, get to the free-throw line. So we’re going to keep encouraging him to drive it — that’s what he’s elite at — and be more judicious with his shot selection. That’ll help him.”
Atkinson also talked about the improvement of Allen Crabbe, who’s been aggressive — and successful— of late and D’Angelo Russell who has yet to start in his three weeks back from his knee surgery.
“That’s huge,” Atkinson said. “Allen really is starting to round into form, and then D’Angelo is starting to get back to his normal self. We knew it was going to take some time (following knee surgery). That’s very positive.”
As for his walking wounded —Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (groin) and Caris LeVert (knee), Atkinson held out some hope they may be back. Both made quick trips out of town over the break, but spent most of their time rehabbing. Their return could be part of a shake-up in lineups and rotation, Atkinson said.
“In a losing streak like this, everything is in play . . . I’m not satisfied with where we are right now, so, we have to find solutions to improve. We’re definitely looking at our rotations and lineups.”
- Spencer Dinwiddie receives new challenge after Skills victory - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Kenny Atkinson hopes Spencer Dinwiddie can continue improvement - Greg Logan - Newsday