In many regards, Spencer Dinwiddie is the heart and soul of the Brooklyn Nets. This year, he should also be an NBA All-Star.
Spencer Dinwiddie was handed the obstreperous task of steering a perceived top-heavy vessel through choppy waters without two of the ships’ most important chief mates: Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert. Still, despite the odds not in favor, the Brooklyn Nets’ professional has maneuvered through the storm with grace and elegance, and his reward should come in form of an NBA All-Star appearance this upcoming February in Chicago.
It was the fourth exhibition of what appeared a never-ending five-game road trip in the opening weeks of the NBA season for the Nets. They were in Denver—with an underwhelming 4-6 record—but were up 16 points against a team that was half a quarter away from the Western Conference Finals a season ago. Though they had lost LeVert just four nights prior to a blowout loss in Phoenix, things seemed like they heading in a positive direction.
Had the Nets figured out chemistry issues, were they starting to gain rhythm that would halt this early slide?
Short answer: no.
The lead evaporated in a matter of short minutes, the Nets collapsed and, worst of all, they lost their All-NBA point guard in the process to a shoulder injury. If the sky was not falling for Nets Twitter before these events unfolded, Chicken Little would have thought the masses were overreacting after the final buzzer sounded in Mile High.
Here is what we knew after that collapse in Denver: The Nets were not a good defensive team—actually ranked 29th in DRTG, which yeah, not ideal—they were having early chemistry issues (which were to be expected, to be fair), and needed, desperately, to go on a run. Which, at the time, seemed improbable given the sidelining of two of their best players, LeVert and Irving.
It is at this part of the story where the Nets’ season “savior,” so-to-speak, enters the fray: Spencer Dinwiddie.
An afterthought at the beginning of the season—largely due to struggles acclimating into this new-look offense—Dinwiddie has morphed from inefficient bench scorer to All-Star in the span of a mere 18 games. Since Kenny Atkinson implemented the 26-year-old into the starting lineup, he has played the best basketball of his young career, averaging 26.1 points, 7.2 assists and 3.2 rebounds on 44.5/31.5/85.2 splits.
More importantly, those gaudy stats have translated into wins for the Nets, who are 12-6 in games Dinwiddie has started in. And if the Nets continue to win with Dinwiddie commanding the offense, it is going to be harder and harder to ignore his case, especially given the circumstances mentioned earlier in which he entered into.
Which brings me to my next point.
The NBA universe loves narratives. Whether we’re open to admitting to such is up for grabs, but storylines do play vital roles in who is selected for what honors, carrying weight in even the most prominent of awards such as the league’s annual MVP.
The story is slightly reminiscent of Khris Middleton’s a year prior: G-League alum to representing his organization at the All-Star game. Dinwiddie has had nothing handed to him in the NBA; he has had to grind his way to prominence from G-League standout to back-up point guard, to then MIP candidate, to 6MOY candidate, to now potential All-Star. He’s a feel-good story; his character and player progression have got him into this conversation.
I mean, Kendrick Perkins has “penciled” him in and who does not agree with him the vast majority of the time? Am I right?
Unless Spencer Dinwiddie has some type of huge drop off I think it’s safe to say we can pencil him as an All Star this year!!!
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) December 22, 2019
Perk does make an interesting point, though: there is still plenty of basketball to be played before All-Star Weekend. However, with no set timetable on Irving’s return and LeVert still out, unless Spencer does experience some unfortunate drop off of epic proportions, he is a safe bet for selection.