Brooklyn Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie has been filling in admirably for Kyrie Irving during a five-game absence, and while the All-Star floor general will miss the next two games as well, Dinwiddie won't necessarily have to return to the bench. Head coach Kenny Atkinson hinted Dinwiddie could potentially start next to Irving, among plenty of other options to keep the 8-8 Nets in the right track after a third straight win.
“Kyrie is still learning exactly what we want to do. Spencer’s got a little more corporate knowledge,” said Atkinson after Dinwiddie dropped a game-high 30 points in a 103-101 win over the New York Knicks, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “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 [Temple] with the defense. There’s a lot [of options] … which is a good problem to have.”
Dinwiddie has posted 20 or more points since he received Atkinson's green light to start in Irving's place. The Nets record has been 4-1 since.
The helmsman is hoping to find the right combination to keep this win streak going and not derail the momentum upon Irving's return from a right shoulder injury.
Prompted about potentially starting next to Irving, Dinwiddie left those decisions to Atkinson alone.
“I’m not the coach, man. I don’t make those decisions. If that’s the new role then that’s what I’ll do. If it’s not, it’s not,” Dinwiddie said. “I don’t really care about the starting [or] coming off the bench. If we’re winning, championship-type level, I’m going to be real happy. If we’re getting our heads cracked, I’m not going to be real happy, and that’s starting or coming off the bench. It’s pretty simple for me.”
Dinwiddie is averaging 19.6 points and 5.1 assists on the season, good for second in both categories after Irving's All-Star-worthy numbers.