Gilbert Arenas had Spencer Dinwiddie on his show this week to talk about a wide range of NBA storylines from his feud with Kyle Kuzma to his thoughts on LeBron James and Ja Morant. For the Nets fan, the podcast was newsworthy because of what he said about Brooklyn’s new roster of “good dudes” that may needs “a guy” to complete the picture.
Spencer Dinwiddie joins us today‼️— Gilbert Arenas (@GilsArenaShow) May 23, 2023
We gonna talk about Luka, the young Nets core, and these NBA Playoffs.
You don't wanna miss this. It's THE ARENA. https://t.co/fiZ0BycDpS
“I’m super excited,” said Dinwiddie. “I’ve been with the Nets six years out of my nine, roughly. I’ve been there for many different forms of the Nets, from when we were kind of the young upstarts — D’Lo and stuff. Then we had the max guys — KD and Kyrie. but now kind of like a more mature, kind of a ready-to-win core that probably needs a guy but probably within that range.
“I fully expect Cam to get his deal. I think they’re going to work that out. And I’ll just try to push forward, be ready to compete, whatever the front office does.”
Dinwiddie spoke as well about Ben Simmons who he described as a “good dude, cool with the team” and how critical he will be, assuming he returns to form, after one season lost to his hold out and back issues, then much of another where a nerve impingement limited him to about half speed.
“Ben from Philly — the guy I played against —,an elite athlete, 6’10”, can guard 1 through 5. Can do things that probably you only Giannis see kind of do, to a degree ... without the length. I think if he’s right, he’s an All-Star guy obviously. If he’s not though: injuries are injuries.”
On Cam Johnson, Dinwiddie was not just optimistic about his re-signing but how his game grew in Brooklyn.
“I think you saw a little bit in his time in Brooklyn,” said Dinwiddie of where Johnson’s game is heading. “He had the ball in his hands a little bit more, making plays out of pick-and-roll. I mean he’s already an elite shooter. There are also issues of health for him, too. He’s missed a lot of time with his shoulder, knee, whatever it is. If he can put together 60, 65-game seasons, I think sky’s the limit. There are not too many people who can shoot 45% from three, got enough to get to the rim, get to the mid-range, and you know is 6’9”. So...”
After noting that he wasn’t around much in the KD-Kyrie era due to his injuries and theirs, Dinwiddie admitted he did talk to the staff and players, adding there were stories “both good and bad” which he didn’t detail.
As for the team the Nets built in the post-trade environment, Dinwiddie said it reminded him of the Nets of 2018-19 which surprised everyone by not just making the playoffs but getting the sixth seed. The difference, he said, is the maturity of this group who are in their late 20’s compared to that one with Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert and D’Angelo Russell, all of whom were 25 or under.
“The easiest part of all that was that it was a bunch of good dudes who already came from winning cultures,” he said of him, Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson and Dorian Finney-Smith. “The Nets were already used to winning. The Suns obviously were winning at a high level and the guys from Dallas, me and Doe had already won and played at high level. Good, low maintenance guys who had a clear vision of where we wanted to go. It didn’t always translate on the court because sometimes we’d be doing three different coverages and you guys know how hard that is.”
He admitted as well that there was some “blending in” that had to take place, suggesting that some of the holdovers were not pleased with the new rotation. But as he added it was a given that that the new players had to play.
“If you’re trading an MVP, everybody has to know those guys are going to play,” he said of Bridges and Johnson. He also noted that because of everything that went on in the Big Three era with injuries and suspensions, he only saw Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden together in only two practices.
Dinwiddie spoke as well about his ongoing feud with former Wizards teammate Kyle Kuzma.
“I think obviously he was hurt by the things I said,” admitted Dinwiddie. “Let me preface this: I never once said he wasn’t talented. So I never once called him a bum on the court. Everything that I said, though, was designed to be honest. It was a fact. Do I respect his talent level? Yes. Do I respect his priorities? No. And that’s why I said it. ”
The feud seemed to based on Dinwiddie’s belief that Kuzma was playing more for himself and his next contract rather than for Wizards wins.
Dinwiddie said he would not respond to Kuzma’s “fifth grade insults.” but said he’s looking forward to the first game between Brooklyn and Washington.
Dinwiddie also dished on Luka Doncic’s level of fitness. Asked if Doncic was in great shape, as he’s claimed, Dinwiddie had this to say: “I think he’s in shape, but if you’re talking about that elite level, like, I can be at the rim every single time…when we talk about Giannis, Bron-type of shape? No. He can hoop, though.
The now 30-year-old also spoke about the Luka Doncic-Kyrie Irving pairing in Dallas, what’s next for Ja Morant, the success of Miami and Denver plus LeBron James possible retirement in the near two-hour podcast.