On Thursday afternoon, the Brooklyn Nets signed D-League guard Spencer Dinwiddie to a three-year, partially guaranteed deal.
Dinwiddie spent just 46 games with the Detroit Pistons since getting drafted in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft. He was less than stellar. His upside is being a knockdown three-point shooter who can operate the point guard spot and defend multiple positions — up to three if the coach is feeling lucky.
At 6-6, Dinwiddie can see over the defense, and his improved passing ability got put on display during his stints with the D-League. So far this year, the former Colorado Buffalo has spent nine games with the Windy City Bulls and has put up astounding numbers.
He averaged 19.4 points and 8.1 assists while shooting 47.9 percent from the field, and he’s shown his improved ability on defense.
Coming out of college, there were questions about whether he was a true point guard or a combo, and it’s clear that he’s better suited to run an offense. Dinwiddie’s ability to score, shoot and work off the ball allow him to play the two spot effectively, and he’s always been good when working off of screens.
In short, he’s a playmaker. And that’s what a point guard is. He’s excellent in transition, too, and the Nets love to run as often as they can.
He didn’t participate in any athletic testing during the combine, and it’s not shocking considering he tore his ACL in January of 2014.
If I had to infer, Sean Marks‘ decision to sign him was because of his ability to create. Right now, the Nets are in a tough spot. There’s no timetable for Jeremy Lin‘s return, and Sean Kilpatrick is the only guard who’s able to create consistently; Isaiah Whitehead‘s been a solid fill-in, but he’s a questionable decision-maker at this juncture.
Dinwiddie appears to be normal athletically since it’s been almost threes years since his surgery, and he’s disruptive in the passing lanes despite not being long (his wingspan measured 6-8.25 at the combine). Regardless, if he matches up against small guards, length doesn’t affect anything too much. He’s still a pest because he can obscure opponents’ vision and force them into bad passes.
Any issues with him will get linked to defense more than offense, and he’ll probably look bad because Brooklyn is atrocious on that side of the ball.
There’s one last thing I need to address: his motor.
Dinwiddie never got much time with Detroit, so it wasn’t observable if he was consistently playing hard. I’m not saying it’s a problem now, but it was when he was in college. And scouts made a note of it.
I believe he’ll benefit the Nets so long as Kenny Atkinson gives him a sizeable leash and allows him to facilitate when he’s on the floor.
Turning him loose as the floor general gives Brooklyn someone who can orchestrate down the stretch and alleviate the ball handling duties from pseudo-point guard Sean Kilpatrick.