Name That Game

In a season where Brooklyn didn’t have any expectations after the season-ending injury to Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell missing most of the season due to a knee ailment, Spencer Dinwiddie has unwittingly become one of the key players for the Nets this season. Not bad for a guy who has spent the first three NBA seasons as a bit player on two teams.

After being drafted by the Pistons in the second round in 2014, and getting spot minutes while splitting time in the G League, Dinwiddie was traded to Chicago where he never stuck and subsequently released before latching on with Brooklyn. Whatever the uniform he wore, Dinwiddie never stopped trying to prove himself at every corner, a role he’s played since his days at Colorado.

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Sometimes in life when you go through adversity, it can either make you or break you, every obstacle a test. After spending time on the waiver wire on a cold December day last season The Nets took a chance on him with a 10-day contract. After a couple big games he was signed for the rest of the season. He finished the 2016-17 season appearing in 59 games, averaging 7.3 points while playing a career high 22.6 minutes.

After Lin went down with a  ruptured patella tendon, Dinwiddie was inserted into the starting lineup with little to no expectations. When Russell was shelved in November, Dinwiddie was given the keys to an NBA team and he made good on the Nets’ faith in him. There was a 21-point, 8-assist game against the defending champion Warriors on Nov. 19, the near-triple-double of 20 points, 10 dimes and 9 boards on Jan. 12 and then there was this tough game-winning bucket in the closing seconds against the Pistons on Jan. 21.

At $1,524,305 this season, Dinwiddie has been one of the League’s best bargains. This season he’s hit game-winners, he’s had 30 -point games, and he even took home the Skills Challenge trophy at All-Star, beating a talented field of competitors.

“This year’s All-Star weekend was special to me because it’s being held in my backyard, this is something that I always dreamed being apart of,” says the L.A.-born Dinwiddie.

But it is the work that Dinwiddie has been doing on the other side of the country that has raised many eyebrows around the League. Averaging 13 PPG and 6.9 APG, Dinwiddie has kept the Nets afloat in a season where they don’t even have incentive to tank for a high lottery pick (the Cleveland Cavaliers own Brooklyn’s pick in the draft this year). This might not have equated to wins, but it’s clear the Nets have found themselves a valuable backcourt piece in a time where having a rotation of capable guards is a must.

The best part of Dinwiddie’s game is his clutch performances, several times this season he’s been the engine that has helped The Nets come back from a big time deficits at various points this season. 

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“We have shooters on this team, and anytime you can shoot you’re always in the game, we have to have the maturity and the focus to not find ourselves down by large amounts, and for us to get back into the game. We have to play with a certain intensity at all times,” says Dinwiddie.

This is only a small fraction of the impact he’s had in Brooklyn. Not only has Dinwiddie transformed himself into one of The best guards in NYC, which is a huge honor, but he’s metamorphosed himself into one of the best guards in the NBA.

“I just go out there and play my game, and play hard I’m confident in my skills as a player,” he says.

He’s played so well that reportedly some NBA teams, including the Cavaliers, called the Nets about his availability during the 2018 trade deadline.

“I really don’t focus on things like that’s out of my control, I like to put my focus on how I produce on the court,” says Dinwiddie.

Dinwiddie is well on his way to becoming a household name.