Spencer Dinwiddie is having a breakout season for the Brooklyn Nets, averaging a career-high 20.7 points per game, but no matter how well he performs, he will likely be sent back to his sixth-man role once the Nets get healthy again.
Dinwiddie has led the Nets to six wins in their last nine games, averaging 25 points and 7.3 assists on 43 percent shooting in those nine games.
He scored 32 points and recorded a career-high 11 assists against the Boston Celtics last Friday, then scored 29 points against the Miami Heat on Sunday.
“Right now, Spencer is our best player on the court,” Joe Harris said. “We live and die with him making plays down the stretch.”
Dinwiddie knows he can’t forget the plan once Kyrie Irving (shoulder impingement) and Caris LeVert (thumb surgery) come back from injury, as he will go back to being more of a complementary player rather than the go-to guy.
“If you don’t roll with it, you will be out the league,” Dinwiddie said. “You don’t have a choice. I could be out here trippin’ and I’ll be gone. If you roll with it, we figure it out and I get to stay and sometimes, every so often, I’ll have like a big game.”
Dinwiddie continued, “It would be nice to score 30 and stuff — who doesn’t want to do that? — but the league kind of works in a certain way.”
When he was asked if he talks to head coach Kenny Atkinson about staying at this level once Irving and LeVert return, Dinwiddie didn’t really answer, as he said he is just doing what is asked of him.
“You work so hard that you’re able to do these things if injuries arise,” Dinwiddie said. “But you also understand your role if they don’t. I try to help the team win. If that means defense, if that means offense, if it means scoring, if it means spotting up, whatever it is. Outside of catching lobs — that’s [DeAndre Jordan’s] job — I try to do it, man.”
Atkinson has called Dinwiddie Brooklyn’s “difference-maker” in the absence of key players like Irving and LeVert.
“We have no idea what our ceiling is because we are not even close to healthy,” Dinwiddie said. “We really have no idea how good we could be. It is encouraging to know that our floor is continuing to rise.”
As the focus of other team’s defenses, Dinwiddie has seen more double-teams and multiple defenders off of pick-and-roll, but Atkinson said he has “made incredible strides there.”
Soon, Dinwiddie will be back to his main role as the sixth-man, leading the second unit instead of being THE guy, and he accepts that.