Spencer Dinwiddie’s numbers are still quite good ... 17 points, five assists and 2.5 rebounds a game, almost all the production coming off the bench. But as the Nets beat writers —and Kenny Atkinson— noted, his numbers are down since his big 37 point, 11 assist win over Charlotte the day after Christmas. In the eight games since , he is averaging 11.3 points and 4.0 assists.
Atkinson noted that the Nets need their 6’6 1/2” point guard to step up if the Nets are going to continue their winning ways. “I think Spencer can play better. I think he’s in a little bit of a slump right now. He needs to get out of it for us to be a good team.”
Dinwiddie reacted then and since. As Greg Logan writes Sunday, Dinwiddie “bristled” at the suggestion after Atkinson’s quote was relayed to him. Then on Sunday, he tweeted out this comment after reading Logan’s story about his “slump.”
Dinwiddie didn’t come up with a better description of his shooting woes, but after scoring eight points on 1-of-7 shooting —and handing out only two assists— Friday vs. Toronto, he admitted he’s getting a lot more attention from opponents’ defense lately.
“That seems like a compliment to me,” Dinwiddie told beat writers in Toronto. “My job is to be in the paint and kick out or shoot it. That’s what I’m trying to do. That’s what Coach wants me to do, so when I have the ball, that’s what I try to do.”
Moreover, he pointed to one aspect of the Raptors roster.
“The Raptors are a great physical team,” Dinwiddie said. “They’re a great ballclub in general, so they’re going to do things to try to take away the opposing team’s offense. That’s just part of it. We still got good looks in general but we didn’t knock down shots consistently enough.”
And he also suggested that it will all work out, noting that Friday, he was guarding Kawhi Leonard and Kawhi Leonard was guarding him.
“I guess we’ll figure it out. I’m going to ask coach,” Dinwiddie replied. “I just try to go out there and do whatever it takes to help the team win games. [Friday] my focus was to guard Kawhi Leonard, because that’s what they had me doing.
For Nets fans —and analytic gurus— Dinwiddie’s drop-off is yet another example of how he and D’Angelo Russell seem to be alternating. When one is on a roll, the other has dropped back. For example, in that same stretch where Dinwiddie is averaging 11.3 and 4, DLo has averaged nearly double that, 22.6 points and seven assists.
Of course any extreme gets noticed more when a team’s roster keeps getting decimated by injuries and more of the burden rests on others’ shoulders. The Nets currently have five players in the training room, with nothing firm on when any will be back.
Allen Crabbe is likely first back. Crabbe had told The Post he could ready this week if his knee issue is finally cleared up. Similarly Dzanan Musa told Brian Lewis he’d be out a month after his shoulder separation. He went down on December 16.
That still leaves Jared Dudley, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and of course Caris LeVert, now out nearly two months.
The Nets will need every body they can —and strong performances from Dinwiddie and DLo— in a tough stretch that starts this week with Boston on Monday at Barclays and continues with road games against Houston and Orlando, both of whom are playing their best basketball of the season.
A team slump now might also figure into the Nets decision-making at the deadline. Whether they’re seen as playoff-bound could determine whether they’ll be a buyer or seller.
- Opponents gang up to slow Spencer Dinwiddie - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Nets need the awards-worthy Spencer Dinwiddie to come back - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Mature Nets aware the road to playoffs will get rough - Greg Logan - Newsday
- This grueling stretch will put Nets’ playoff hopes to real test - Brian Lewis - New York Post