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Spencer Dinwiddie belongs in ‘Most Improved’ conversation ... Ask him!

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NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Brooklyn Nets Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

There is zero doubt that Spencer Dinwiddie belongs in the Most Improved Player conversation when the award is announced in late June.

He’ll be the first person to tell you. Taking his cue from the highly animated discussion over whether Ben Simmons or Donovan Mitchell is rookie of the year, Dinwiddie essentially said, “Hey what the MIP? What about ME?”

Whether he was joking or not, he has a case. Dinwiddie did make the bigger improvement, but Oladipo’s improvement had more of an impact on Indiana’s success.

He had spent some time with the Detroit Pistons, but played most of his time with their D-League affiliate. He was traded to the Chicago Bulls, but also played most of his time with the D-League affiliate and was waived just before last season, winding up in the D-League.

Last December, Spencer Dinwiddie was playing for the Windy City Bulls when he put up 25 points and 12 assists against the Long Island Nets at Barclays Center. And the rest is history.

The Nets scooped Dinwiddie not long after that big game against Long Island, and it’s turned out to be the decision that essentially saved this season from being a complete disaster.

Last season, Jeremy Lin and Greivis Vasquez were injured for most of the year. The Nets basically had zero NBA-ready point guards and the season was basically and that was one of the main reasons why.

This season, Lin ruptured his patella tendon in the first game and would miss the rest of the season. Then 12 games later, D’Angelo Russell went down. He needed surgery on his knee and would miss more than 30 games. It was deja vu all over again.

But with injury comes opportunity, and Dinwiddie seized his . He became an on-court leader for Brooklyn, asserted himself as a legitimate point guard in the league, and even won the Skills Challenge — one of few highlights for Nets fans this season.

He put the league on notice after the fifth game. The Nets were in a tight game against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Dinwiddie dropped 22 points and hit the game-winning shot, his first of many clutch shots this season.

Over the course of the season, he emerged as one of Brooklyn’s primary leaders. He speaks eloquently and connects with the coaching staff. He is, after all, one of the biggest notchs on their belt of development. And he just turned 25.

Even with a bit of a drop-off after the All-Star Break (where he won the NBA Skills Competition), the 6’6” Dinwiddie is averaging 12.6 points and 6.6 assists, starting 58 games out of 80 played. That’s basically double his output last season. (Oladipo went from 15.9 points to 23.1).

Beyond the numbers, he played like that system fit point guard that Atkinson craves: somebody who attacks the hole and opens up the perimeter. Somebody who does not turn the ball over too often, still second in the NBA in that category. He is also durable, missing only one game.

So, after spending most of his days in the D- (now G-) League, Dinwiddie now sits in sixth place for most assists and 10th for assists per game (6.6). Out of the nine players ahead of him, Rajon Rondo is the only one averaging fewer minutes.

Oladipo will probably get the award and it will be justified. He went from being a role player to near superstar in this league. Nobody is arguing that.

But there’s certainly a case here, if we’re talking about most improved.