Today’s Brooklyn Nets news features head coach Kenny Atkinson and guard Spencer Dinwiddie talking his recent progress.
After point guard Jeremy Lin fell to injury in the Nets’ season opener, Brooklyn’s bench was called to step up.
It was Spencer Dinwiddie who answered that call. He scored 16 points, dished 5 dimes, and grabbed 5 rebounds in the Nets’ win Friday over the Magic.
Dinwiddie was the primary ball handler when star guard D’Angelo Russell hit the bench. As the Nets prepare for their next game against the Atlanta Hawks, he’ll be granted similar responsibility.
Brooklyn found Dinwiddie in the NBA G (then D) – League this past December. After spending two years with the Detroit Pistons, he fell out of rotation. He was traded to the Chicago Bulls, where he was later waived.
Since his arrival in Brooklyn, head coach Kenny Atkinson told The New York Post that overall confidence is where the guard has grown the most.
“When he first came here he was not a very confident player. He was very unsure. It was one of the things I was very concerned about. You saw the talent, the size, the athleticism, liked the player. But he was very unsure of himself, very hesitant in every sense: defensively, aggressiveness, grit, offensive decision-making. “
Now? Dinwiddie has found a nurturing system with the Nets, who’ve had plenty of room to let him grow while serving as the NBA’s worst team last year.
His progression as an NBA player is apparent to Brooklyn’s coaching staff, with their biggest concern having resolved itself.
“I guess it’s just maturity. He feels more comfortable. He’s gotten physically stronger. That’s part of it. You see those muscles bulging out. So I see a much more confident player. Mentally, too, he’s much more sure of himself. If there was one big concern with him in the beginning, that was it. So it’s nice to see that progression.”
Dinwiddie’s confidence was put on for all to see Friday evening, as he scored 7 points in the fourth to help lead the Nets to victory.
Atkinson says that his role can be expected as such going forward, including today against the Atlanta Hawks.
“He’s earned it. It’s not even training [camp]. He’s earned it … over the whole timeline of his [progression]. There’s a certain trust you have when you see the work he’s put in every day. You feel confident with him out there. We did keep him out there longer than what was planned; it’s because he was playing really well.”
Dinwiddie told The New York Post that Brooklyn has invested a lot to make him the player he is today. Now, he’s more comfortable than ever, prepared to help lead this offense.
“Now that I’m comfortable in this system, it’s very easy for me to be like, ‘You go here, you go to this spot. This is the time and score.’ … It’s just being comfortable in the system, and also earning the respect of the guys to be able to tell them.”
It’s unclear whether Dinwiddie will be appearing in the Nets’ starting five against Atlanta, but he’s sure to see plenty of minutes come game time.
Brooklyn will host Atlanta at Barclays Center later today, tip-off is at 3:30 PM EST.