Olin Simplis is not quite a Nets insider. He’s Spencer Dinwiddie’s trainer —has been since the Nets guard was 12 years old— so he’s an outsider with an insider’s view of the Nets ... and what he sees is mostly positive.
In an interview with Ian Begley of SNY, Simplis likes what he sees from Dinwiddie this summer and what he believes will see from the Nets three cornerstone backcourt men: Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert and Kyrie Irving. The Nets, he believes, are moving towards playing position-less basketball, not quite at the level of Golden State, but close. It can be, says Simplis, “really scary.”
“The way the league is trending now, it’s a positionless league,” said Simplis. “You can go with those three guys, and KD, as you’re 1, 2, 3, 4. And they’re all interchangeable. All of them can bring the ball up the floor, all of them can defend multiple positions. All of them can be placed in pick and roll reads. All of them can play catch and shoot because they all can shoot the ball very well. It’s pretty dynamic.
“I won’t say that it’s Golden State-esque yet. But that’s what makes Golden State so special. Klay Thompson can catch and shoot, Steph Curry can catch and shoot. Kevin Durant can catch and shoot. But you can also put the ball in their hands. Back in the day, you could either catch and shoot or you’re really good at creating off the dribble. There wasn’t this combination. And then the fact that they want to get after it defensively as well, Spencer’s a really good, cerebral defender. Caris LeVert is a good defender. It can be really scary, it can be scary.”
Simplis told Begley with that in mind, DInwiddie is working on things that are going to make him a more complete ball player, from shooting three’s to practicing different finishes.
“A lot of 3-pointers, playing through contact, and adding a couple more finishes to his game. Last summer, we did the one-leg, one-hand scoop right off the dribble that he was pretty successful with last season,” said Simplis who played college ball and pro ball in South America.
“This year, we’re adding a lot of two-foot finishes a la Tony Parker because I like guards to get in the paint and finish off two (feet). You have so many different options. And a couple of hooks, we’re working on hooks as well.
One reason, said Simplis, is that after establishing himself, Dinwiddie is no longer and afterthought in opponents game planning. “He’s going to be keyed in on a lot more this year. He’s had two good seasons, back-to-back, and his game keeps evolving…. He’s definitely going to draw more attention.”
Simplis said LeVert is working on similar issues.
“He’s dynamic himself (just as Dinwiddie is); there’s so much synergy between those guys. They can play off the ball, they can play on the ball, they can be catch and shoot guys, they can be playmakers, they can be pick and roll (initiators). They can do so many different things, which kind of makes it scary that you added Kyrie to the mix.”
Simplis also thinks Dinwiddie is ready to show more leadership. (He certainly did in his recruiting of Irving.)