Spencer Dinwiddie has been playing so well in Kyrie Irving‘s absence that he might remain in the starting lineup once Irving returns, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Dinwiddie poured in 30 points in Sunday’s win over the Knicks and has averaged 25.0 points and 6.2 assists per game since becoming a starter. Irving is sidelined until at least Friday with a shoulder impingement, and coach Kenny Atkinson said he will consider using them together as the starting backcourt.
“Kyrie is still learning exactly what we want to do. Spencer’s got a little more corporate knowledge,” Atkinson said. “It’s going to take time for Kyrie to completely understand what we’re doing on both sides of the ball. That being said, for not understanding he’s been pretty darn good. So it just gives us a lot of different options. I think about Spencer playing so well right now, when Kyrie comes back what does that look like? Is Spencer coming to start? You have [Garrett Temple] with the defense. There’s a lot [of options] … which is a good problem to have.”
Dinwiddie started 58 games during the 2017/18 season, then excelled as a sixth man last year, so he’s comfortable with either role. He understands that his place on the team will continue to evolve as Caris LeVert returns from injury later this season and especially when Kevin Durant is healthy enough to play in 2020/21.
“The role just changes, like an amoeba. Sometimes it’s defense, sometimes it’s going to be scoring,” Dinwiddie said. “Obviously usage rate is probably through the roof right now because Kyrie is out, Caris and obviously the monster is going to be back probably next season. For now my job is to do this, and then it’ll shift when they get back.”
There’s more this morning from Brooklyn:
- The Nets have been successful without Irving because of improvements on defense, Lewis notes in a separate story. Brooklyn has won four of its last five games and is posting a 102.4 Defensive Rating in that span, which ranks fifth in the league. The changes came about after Temple replaced LeVert and Iman Shumpert entered the rotation after being signed last week.
- Improved play from Jarrett Allen has also lifted the Nets, observes Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. Allen got off to a slow start while adjusting to the addition of DeAndre Jordan, but through 16 games his averages of 10.9 PPG and 9.4 RPG are in line with last season’s.
- DeMarre Carroll respects the Nets for letting him know he wasn’t in their future plans before free agency began, relays Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Carroll signed with the Spurs after spending two years in Brooklyn. “They just let me know they weren’t going to be able to pay me what somebody else would pay me. All they really had the minimum because they wanted to go out and pursue other guys,” Carroll said. “They went out and got Kevin Durant and Kyrie and DeAndre. They already kind of laid it out before I went into free agency.”