Brooklyn Nets Media Week: Spencer Dinwiddie Ready for What's Necessary

Spencer Dinwiddie sees what the Nets have, and he knows what they need. At the front of the line are Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, two of the NBA’s great scorers, both All-NBA selections during their most recent full seasons in 2018-19.

As the Nets began workouts this week in the lead-up to their Dec. 22 season-opener against the Golden State Warriors, the vision of a Brooklyn team led by Durant and Irving that first came into view back in the summer of 2019 is about to become reality.

“They're going to be ball-dominant,” said Dinwiddie of Irving and Durant. “You've got to know that. One’s the greatest scorer of all time. You gotta really recognize that and get the ball where it needs to go. So you know everybody else needs to process and act accordingly. And then do what's best to help the team win.”

Last season, that type of role fell to Dinwiddie. Durant was out for the season. Irving was limited to 20 games, and during Irving’s first stretch out of the lineup from mid-November to early January, the Nets were without Caris LeVert as well. In an 18-game stretch during that time, Dinwiddie averaged 26.1 points and 7.2 assists per game. He finished up the season averaging career highs of 20.6 points and 6.8 assists, leading the Nets in both categories.

It wasn’t the first time. Two years earlier, Dinwiddie stepped in for the injured D’Angelo Russell, sparking a breakout season that made him a finalist for the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award, with an invite to All-Star Weekend and a win in the Skills Challenge along the way.

But that’s not who the Nets need Dinwiddie to be this season, and he’s always slid into whatever role was needed. Coming off the bench in 2018-19, Dinwiddie was second in the league in both points and assists off the bench behind only Sixth Man Award winner Lou Williams, making a huge impact on Brooklyn’s return to the playoffs.

And it’s in that direction Dinwiddie expects the upcoming season to go, conjuring up the comparison of Golden State’s Draymond Green, a multi-dimensional player who fills in the holes and helps make everything come together.

“I’ve worn a lot of different roles for this team,” said Dinwiddie. “Off the bench, starting, closer, point, off the ball, whatever it may be. So, that’s kind of how I view myself – the multi-purpose utility guy who helps keep the guys together, trying to make the sacrifice plays to help the team win.”

It’s a mindset, Dinwiddie believes, that needs to extend across the roster.

“We’re going to need all hands on deck,” said Dinwiddie. “One player can’t do it alone, two players can’t do it alone. Everybody’s going to have to have their hand in this, that’s (DeAndre Jordan), (Jarrett Allen), Joe (Harris), Jeff Green, Taurean (Prince); I’m trying not to miss anybody because I don’t want there to be a report about how I missed somebody. Everybody’s got to help out and do their part so that we can win. Everybody’s not going to play every game. Injuries are part of the season. Depth is important. It’s just going to take everybody.”

In that mix, there are changes as the Nets push through a compressed preseason schedule before getting to the opener. Aside from Durant and Irving, they’ve added guards Landry Shamet and Bruce Brown, plus veteran forward Jeff Green. There’s a new head coach in Steve Nash. And they’re heading towards the unknown, with a late-starting season that will likely feature games without fans for a significant part of the 72-game schedule.

“It's still going to be a new experience,” said Dinwiddie. “Everybody's going to be walking into this blind to a certain extent. And it's just kind of on us to come together as a group. And the most cohesive group probably wins a championship of the teams that have the talent to do so, which we are one.”