No one on the Nets stirs the social media pot quite like Spencer Dinwiddie. He recently drew attention by saying no one can stop him, but Dinwiddie dropped an even more provocative word bomb in an interview with Michael Grady of YES Network that aired during Wednesday night’s preseason loss to the Raptors.
Discussing his breakout 2017-18 season, Dinwiddie said he should have won the NBA’s Most Improved Player award over Pacers All-Star Victor Oladipo, who won it, and Rockets center Clint Capela, who was the other finalist with Dinwiddie. When the subject came up after Thursday’s practice, Dinwiddie smiled and launched into a 427-word answer that he asked media members to print in its entirety.
That’s not possible in a 500-word story, but even with a little editing, Dinwiddie’s explanation was clear and entertaining.
“I really need this to get out exactly the way I say it,” he began. “I believe Victor Oladipo should be an All-Star. He deserves it. I believe Clint Capela is a max center in today’s NBA. I love both of their games.
“My whole thing was on the definition of ‘improved.’ … My point was the production, in terms of advanced analytics, where it ranked, what happened from a person who was out of the league – not assigned to the D League, literally in the D League – to then have the season that he had.
“If we’re going to compare it to the other two people, I felt, by definition of ‘improved,’ that I should have won. I didn’t say I had a better season than Oladipo or Clint Capela. So let’s get that out there right now.”
No doubt, Dinwiddie made a huge leap when asked to fill the point guard void after injuries to Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell. He averaged 12.6 points and 6.6 assists and had the second-best assist-to-turnover ratio in the NBA.
Dinwiddie also took pains to explain his “nobody can stop me” declaration. He recalled making a similar comment a year ago by way of explaining the attitude he believes competitors need to succeed.
“I said you have to feel like you’re the best player on the floor whenever you go out there,” Dinwiddie said. “I don’t care if you’re playing LeBron [James], Kevin Durant, whoever. For those 48 minutes, when you step between the lines, you have to think you’re the best player.”
Despite the power of such positive thinking, Dinwiddie and the entire Nets team have struggled on offense, shooting only 24.8 percent from three-point range, during a 1-2 preseason that concludes with a game against the Knicks on Friday night at Madison Square Garden. But Dinwiddie underlined his determination to keep improving.
“I don’t feel like I’m where I need to be as a player just in terms of to help the Nets win games and going forward in terms of maximum potential,” Dinwiddie said. “I didn’t view last year as a big step. I viewed it as a small step. I still have much more to go.”
Notes & quotes: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (groin strain) scrimmaged fully Thursday but will be held out of the Knicks game along with Allen Crabbe (ankle) and Shabazz Napier (hamstring).