Ballin' Out, Brooklyn Nets, NBA

Ballin’ Out: Spencer Dinwiddie is Sixth Man of the Year material

Ballin’ Out will break down the best performance by a role player from the previous week, weighing both individual and team performance.

After starting in over 70 percent of the Brooklyn Nets’ games last season Spencer Dinwiddie saw his role change from the go-to guy, to the first man off the bench. Despite the change, Dinwiddie is still getting buckets.

Last week Dinwiddie averaged 19.3 points and 5 assists on 49 percent from the field, and his 17 points off the bench helped the Nets get a major upset win over the East-leading Toronto Raptors.

There was a play in the fourth quarter of that game where Dinwiddie was accelerating towards the basket, stopped on a dime, crossed up Pascal Siakam and darted toward the rim for the finish. It would’ve been perfect if he would have made the shot, but Jarrett Allen was there for the putback. It went something like this.

Several times throughout the game Dinwiddie showcased his speed against Danny Green and Serge Ibaka, getting them on his quick first step to finish at the rim. The Nets have so much faith in Dinwiddie’s playmaking abilities that when it came time to win the game in the fourth quarter and in overtime, Brooklyn put the ball in his hands. Dinwiddie found Allen all alone deep in the paint for what would be the game-winning shot and his eighth assist of the game.

Dinwiddie’s vision on the floor is criminally underrated. He’s always making the extra pass for a higher-quality shot, and instead of dipping his head down when he’s driving toward the rim his eyes are always up looking for an opportunity to kick it out to someone open.

The crazy thing is, that wasn’t even Dinwiddie’s best performance of the week. On the second night of a back-to-back Dinwiddie followed up his 17-point, 8-assist performance with a 25-point outing against the New York Knicks.

Dinwiddie got it done from everywhere on the floor. Whether it was knocking down 3s, breaking down the defense and kicking it out to the open man on the 3-point line, or going 1-on-1 against any of the Knicks bigs who fell victim to Dinwiddie’s crossover and blow-by to the rim.

All game Dinwiddie operated like a one-man wrecking crew, taking on any defender the Knicks put in front of him, only to put them on skates or knock down a shot in their face. Dinwiddie put the finishing touches on his performance in the fourth quarter when Frank Ntilikina picked him up at halfcourt, only to be left in the dust seconds later as Dinwiddie had a clear path to the rim for the dunk.

This would be surprising, except this is Dinwiddie’s fifth 20-plus point game this season, his season high is 31 against Philadelphia. Dinwiddie ranks sixth in the league in points scored off the bench, second in assists and his 16 points per game is a huge factor as to why the Nets bench is the fifth highest scoring in the league.

Next: Luka Doncic is a basketball wunderkind

Even in the two losses, the Nets had last week, Dinwiddie was efficient, posting a plus-8 in the loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers — the highest on the team — and shooting 54 percent from the field in Brooklyn’s two-point loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

His role may have changed, but Dinwiddie’s impact is still felt in wins and losses for the Nets, making him a crucial building block for Brooklyn’s future.

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