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Kenny Atkinson challenges Spencer Dinwidde: More, please

Los Angeles Lakers v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images

We can all recite the numbers in Spencer Dinwiddie’s argument for an All-Star berth. He’s averaged...

—40.0 points over the last two;

—37.0 points over the last three;

—35.3 points over the last week, and

—26.1 points since Kyrie Irving went down 18 games ago.

Most important, of course, is the record since Irving and Caris LeVert were lost: 12-6, a number which if played out over an 82-game season would result in 55 wins.

But Kenny Atkinson sees something else in all those numbers, something that says All-Star (or more); consistency ... and he wants more of it. He believes his point guard can do it.

“That’s a mentality and that’s years in the league and confidence,” Atkinson said, talking about how great ones do it every night. “I’m not sure how many games Spencer’s had in a row, but he’s starting to enter into that conversation, the guys that can do it

“Still early. He’s got to do it for an even longer period. That’s the real step up for guys that make the All-Star team: Can they do it?” Atkinson told Brian Lewis “He’s starting to get in that area, where he’s doing it game after game after game. You could argue that’s his biggest leap, that he’s not having the ups and downs that he had in the past.”

Where, the coach was asked, would he like to see improvement out of Dinwiddie.

“As much as he gets to the rim, I’d love for his finishing to be even better. He can get better at it. He’s certainly getting a lot of opportunities,” Atkinson said. “Then get the 3-point shooting from 32 to 36 [percent]. If he wants to take that step we all think he’s capable of taking, those are the areas.”

Lewis points out...

Dinwiddie is shooting just 30.8 percent from deep. While he’s an elite athlete who’s fifth in the league in drives (18.2 per game), he has shot only 56.1 percent from within 5 feet. Irving, Joe Harris, Garrett Temple and even the recently waived Iman Shumpert have all shot better at the rim.

Atkinson said he’s told Dinwiddie about the goals and notes that the 26-year-old is highly coachable.

“[I said,] ‘We need better: This equals All-Star if we can improve those areas. And defensive rebounding,’ ” Atkinson said. “He’s so receptive to coaching. That’s the time to coach guys, when they’re playing well. They’re even more open to listening. But the aggressive mentality, that’s coming from him. He’s taken the mantle.

“He knows the system so well. Our relationship’s good enough where he understands what we want. I’m pleasantly surprised in how aggressive he’s been, especially to the rim. We all know that’s his elite skill, his athleticism. … That’s his mindset right now, is super aggressive.”

Dinwiddie of course wants it as much or more than his coach. He has long said that when he steps out on the court, he has to believe that he’s the best player in the game. And often now, he is.