Brooklyn Nets' Spencer Dinwiddie grateful for Most Improved Player nomination
Dinwiddie shared his thoughts about being nominated for the MIP award and his expectations for next season
Spencer Dinwiddie was preparing for a summer league stint around this time last year. At that stage, he was just hoping to prove why he deserved a spot in Kenny Atkinson’s rotation. How things can change in just a few months.
On Wednesday night, the 25-year-old was named as one of the nominees for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award – joining the Pacers’ Victor Oladipo and the Rockets’ Clint Capela. It was the culmination of a stunning turnaround for Dinwiddie, who went from essentially being cut twice in his first two years in the league to becoming one of the league’s most efficient playmakers. He is fully aware of how far he’s come.
“I think the main thing, this is some validation on the season individually which means a lot to me given the road I've traveled,” he wrote in an email to BrooklynNets.com.
<— Tfw they said you wouldn’t be an #KiaMIP finalist— Spencer Dinwiddie (@SDinwiddie_25) May 17, 2018
Dinwiddie averaged 12.6 points, 6.6 assists and 3.2 rebounds, all career highs, and was second in the league in assist to turnover ratio (4.1). His incredible rise is well-documented. He was expected to compete for the backup point guard role after training camp, but thrived when being called on to fill in for injured starters Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell.
He averaged 13.8 points and 7.2 assists as a starter and was particularly impressive in January, where he hit three game winners and averaged 14.9 points and 6.2 assists. His success in the first half of the season resulted in a trip to All-Star weekend where he didn’t disappoint, taking home the Skills Challenge trophy. Dinwiddie is hungry to build on last season.
“I'm still fighting for a job and trying to continue to solidify myself in this league,” he wrote.
He is also confident that his teammates can make similar strides this upcoming season.
“I want to win championships, so all my goals are still the same as last year in that regard,” he said. “I expect us as a unit to keep improving and personally I want to be the type of player that can lead his team to a championship.”
Finally, Dinwiddie reiterated his gratitude to the Nets for giving him extended minutes at the point guard position – one of the hardest roles in the NBA. He knows that his success this season wouldn’t come without the confidence of Atkinson and general manager Sean Marks.
“If I win, they deserve half the award honestly,” he wrote. “They believed in me two years ago when no one else did and doubled down this past season amidst the injuries. Without that we don't see any of these things. So I remain grateful to Sean Marks, Kenny and the rest of the organization.”