Kenny Atkinson has now voiced —on multiple occasions— a desire for Spencer Dinwiddie to be more aggressive.
It happened earlier this week, and it happened again after Thursday’s practice.
“Spencer’s a heck of a player,” offered Atkinson, always admittedly one of Dinwiddie’s biggest admirers. “I just think he could be more aggressive. We still want you to be top-10 in the league in drives like you’ve been, and that slipped. His driving to the rim I think has slipped. Sometimes I can see that passive mentality, (like) not attacking a close out right away.”
Dinwiddie’s thoughts? Pretty straightforward.
When asked what his thoughts were on Atkinson’s comments, Dinwiddie responded: “I need to be more aggressive; I need to drive more.”
Regarding why his aggressiveness has dipped, he was also pretty straightforward.
“Man, look. I’ve just got to do better, man,” said Dinwiddie. “When we loss games this year, I lost my defensive match-ups or haven’t played enough offensively or something else. For us to win games I’ve got to do better. Like right now, we’re struggling, and the drives and the aggressiveness are one of the reasons, so I’ve got to do better.”
There’s also a reason we’ve heard Dinwiddie’s name more than ever this season. He’s played a lot longer than he ever has.
This season, Dinwiddie’s only missed one of the Nets’ 68 games played, starting 57. At 1,957 minutes played, he’s logged more playing time this season alone than his first three seasons of NBA ball combined (1,948 – 1,334 of which were last season).
Unquestionably, he’s also done a lot more in what’s become his first season as a focal point of an NBA roster by averaging career-highs (by far) in points per game (13.0), assists (6.9, which is tied for eighth in the NBA) and three-pointers made (119).
However, since February 12, shortly before the All-Star Break, Dinwiddie’s shooting 32% from the field, 22.2% from three, and is averaging 9.2 points (and 7.6 assists) over the 11 game span, logging 31.3 minutes per appearance.
It’s also gotten worse this month. He’s down to 8.8 points and 15 percent from three.
In the face of such analytics, the 2018 NBA Skills Challenge winner insists that fatigue has not set in, and might as well have ensured that it won’t.
“I don’t get tired; you know why I’m here,” he said, quoting both Kevin Gates and Marshawn Lynch in one line.
“There is no pairing that we can’t use to our benefit, and there is no such thing as fatigue,” he later added. “This is our job, we get paid to do this, and I’m supposed to come here and do my job every day. You can’t tell your boss that you’re just tired of writing can you? – they’ll find somebody else. I’m not tired of playing basketball, nor is my body tired or my mind tired, I’m ready to do this, let’s go.”
Dinwiddie and Atkinson also don’t subscribe to the theory that these struggles are coming as a byproduct of sharing the floor with D’Angelo Russell, who returned to the starting line-up, to join Dinwiddie, on February 22, the team’s first game post All-Star break.
“DLo has no effect on my aggressiveness. That’s all on me – DLo’s been playing great basketball. I’ve got to do better,” he said. “We all are basketball players. At some point in time we’ve all played well together. It’s all about getting all that to click collectively at one time, consistently. Collectively … consistently … I like it.”
“I don’t see it relating,” added Atkinson. “Is it All-Star Break and then he’s played a lot of minutes? That could be it? I don’t know. I do know that we need him to be aggressive on both ends of the court. He’s playing well but we need him more aggressive.”