The true “feel good” comes in a story like Spencer Dinwiddie’s, who was never a prodigy, a prototypical superstar-to-be, or a high draft pick. He was even out of the NBA as recently as two years ago.
This past Thursday, the Brooklyn Net point guard signed on the dotted line, remaining with the team on a three-year, $37 million deal, which begins next season.
Dinwiddie was headed for restricted free agency this summer, and due to his vast improvements, evolution, commitment and friendly price tag, general manager Sean Marks wanted to keep the one-time G League standout, who’s become one of the organization’s cornerstones, right at “home.”
“In my personal life, I get to retire my parents,” Dinwiddie said to reporters Friday, ahead of what became a 27-point outing off the bench in a win over the Washington Wizards.
“All credit goes to the Nets and the culture that they’ve developed, the organization that they’ve built, the players they’ve put in that locker room and just the overall tenor and trajectory that we’re on,” he added. “They also took a chance on me, that’s not lost on me at all.”
Dinwiddie was signed on December 8, 2016, after a stint with the Windy City Bulls in the G League, the NBA’s development breeding ground.
The 6-foot-6 guard was a second-round pick in 2014, when he was coming off a torn ACL suffered in college. After two seasons in Detroit, which saw him struggle to earn playing time, he was dealt to the Chicago Bulls, who later waived him before the regular season began.
In the G League, the Nets identified him and brought him to Brooklyn on a multi-year deal set to expire this coming June.
In that time Dinwiddie developed, spot starting in 2016-17, as the door had been open due to injuries to Jeremy Lin, and inexperience from Isaiah Whitehead.
In 2017-18, Lin missed all but the season-opener due to a ruptured right patella tendon, and D’Angelo Russell missed 34 games due to arthroscopic knee surgery.
Dinwiddie had an unidentifiable role ahead of 2017-18, and ended third in voting for the NBA’s Most Improved Player. Hehas taken another step this season, perhaps currently sitting as the early favorite for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award.
“You want to reward a guy who has bought in entirely,” Marks said at Barclays Center ahead of Friday’s encounter with Washington. “I think Spencer has showed terrific ability to improve, to develop, to be part of this culture and it’s deserving of him right now.”
And many in the league showed their support for Dinwiddie, extending their congratulations. The news of his deal was even featured briefly on ESPN’s The Jump, where panelists Rachel Nichols, Amin Elhassan and Scottie Pippen expressed their happiness for Dinwiddie.
“Obviously I do have quite a few friends in this league, and that’s kind of a product of being in a bunch of different situations and also there being turnover in the Nets locker room since I’ve been here,” Dinwiddie said. “I’ve gotten to meet, form friendships and bonds with a lot of guys across the league.”
For the University of Colorado alum, it all goes back to having a story that is relatable.
“I think that’s something that a lot of guys could identify with, whether they’re in the league, overseas or wherever they are,” he added. “It hasn’t been easy, it hasn’t been smooth. There are only so many people who get to be the number-one pick and be a max player their whole career.”
The Nets have many other big decisions to make over the next few months, but as of Sunday, the team has responded to eight straight losses with a five-game winning streak, including victories over a pair of Eastern Conference powers in the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers.
At 13-18 without their best player Caris LeVert, Dinwiddie and the Nets are right in the playoff picture close to midway through the season.
And after five seasons, Dinwiddie, who welcomed a son into the world in April with his fiancée, has secured a home.