Spencer Dinwiddie could be the D’Angelo Russell replacement the Brooklyn Nets need

PHOENIX, AZ - NOVEMBER 06: Spencer Dinwiddie (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - NOVEMBER 06: Spencer Dinwiddie (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

With D’Angelo Russell out for an unknown period of time after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, the Brooklyn Nets need someone to step up. Spencer Dinwiddie proved Friday night that he could be the guy.

Spencer Dinwiddie‘s play Friday night is the type of performance that shows why the 24-year-old guard is forcing Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson to give him increased playing time.

The Nets turned to Dinwiddie to provide the necessary spark on the offensive end and that’s exactly what the Nets got Friday night. In 31 minutes, Dinwiddie had a career night, scoring 25 points with eight assists and five rebounds on 64% shooting against the Utah Jazz.

With D’Angelo Russell slated to miss some time with the announcement of his arthroscopic knee surgery, the next man up motto will be prevalent once again. In a season where the expectations are low for the Nets, clearly that hasn’t fazed the players as Dinwiddie, Trevor Booker, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Allen Crabbe are all on pace to have career years.

Crabbe’s 18 points and DeMarre Carroll‘s 17 helped carry the offensive load as Hollis-Jefferson had an off-night with seven points in 27 minutes. That’s the best part about this Nets club. They’re playing team basketball and every night there’s someone else who can step up when needed. They might not have the big-name star that most clubs feature but this team is utilizing the pieces they do have to the fullest.

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Dinwiddie is quietly having a phenomenal season. Despite playing for a team that many wrote off in the preseason, there’s still plenty of basketball left to make a potential run at the eight seed in the up-for-grabs Eastern Conference. Increased playing time and performances like Friday night will cause opposing teams to start game planning for Dinwiddie.

Last season, amid the Nets’ point guard turmoil (which also started with an injury to Jeremy Lin), Dinwiddie gained a distinct reputation for his stability in the backcourt. He wouldn’t turn the ball over despite playing 15, 20 or 25 minutes at a time.

It looks as if Dinwiddie has matured and progressed even more as he’s currently second in the NBA in assist to turnover ratio.

The fast-paced, up-tempo play of Coach Atkinson’s offense has been beneficial in the offensive production of the team and it can be traced back to why the development of the Nets players is catching everyone’s attention.

“With Kenny’s style and wanting to play uptempo and wanting to shoot a lot of three’s and run-and-gun, having a modern NBA offense, obviously you want to continue to work on that and make it a point of emphasis so you can fit in and hopefully flourish in the system,” Dinwiddie told NetsDaily.

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Now that Russell’s timetable to return is pushed back, Spencer Dinwiddie will have ample opportunities to flourish. Friday night may have just been a preview.