Prior to the season, there was talk that the Nets needed to add a third star, someone to complement Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, if they were to succeed big-time during their title window.
Adrian Wojnarowski opined that he thought the third star could be Caris LeVert. Now, with all three stars —KD, Kyrie and Caris— all in street clothes, another candidate has emerged. Spencer Dinwiddie is on a roll. He’s averaging 20.7 points a game overall to go with 5.9 assists. He was and the Eastern Conference Player of the Week last week since Irving joined LeVert on the bench, his numbers have jumped dramatically.
Over the past nine games, he’s averaging 25 points on 43 percent shooting, 7.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds in Irving’s absence.
“He’s playing as good as anybody in the NBA right now in my humble opinion,” Atkinson said of Dinwiddie.
“Right now, Spencer is our best player on the court,” teammate Joe Harris said. “We live and die with him making plays down the stretch.”
So with both Irving and LeVert nearing a return, what will that mean for the 6’6” guard who in addition to his nice stats possesses star quality?
“When Kyrie comes back I think that’s just going to give us a team with more depth, a more powerful team,” added Atkinson, ever the diplomat.
There will have to be adjustments when Irving, LeVert and Dinwiddie are all in black-and-white. They’re all guards and to a certain extent, all need the ball to be most effective. It is not a horrible situation to have if you’re the coach. Add to it that LeVert is 25, Dinwiddie 26 and Irving 27 and you can see that Atkinson is relishing the opportunity of fitting them in.
Dinwiddie says he can handle whatever comes his way.
“If you don’t roll with it, you will be out the league,” Dinwiddie said. “You don’t have a choice. I could be out here trippin’ and I’ll be gone. If you roll with it, we figure it out and I get to stay and sometimes, every so often, I’ll have like a big game.”
Sounds like he’s willing to reprise his role as the Sixth Man, next man up.
“You work so hard that you’re able to do these things if injuries arise,” he added, per Zach Braziller of the Post. “But you also understand your role if they don’t. … I try to help the team win. If that means defense, if that means offense, if it means scoring, if it means spotting up, whatever it is. Outside of catching lobs — that’s [DeAndre Jordan’s] job — I try to do it, man.”
Things, he believes, will ultimately work out and the Nets conservative way of bringing players back will give them a little more time to think things out. Both Irving and LeVert will be eased back into the rotation, then starting unit. That’s a process that could take the whole month of December, depending on Irving and LeVert’s return dates.
One thing is certain. He’s now seen as a star in the league. He’s facing double-teams, getting blitzed by multiple defenders, as Braziller writes. He’s handled it well. And as one of his teammates notes, this is not a flash-in-the-pan.
“He can do that whenever he wants to,” Jarrett Allen said of Dinwiddie. “He’s super-talented, he’s super-skilled, he’s super-athletic. I think this could be a normal night for him.”
- Spencer Dinwiddie’s breakout can’t save him from Nets demotion - Zach Braziller - New York Post