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Meet the Newest Detroit Piston: Spencer Dinwiddie

June 28th, 2014 at 3:59 PM
By Sean Walters

The Detroit Pistons new regime stuck to their script during the NBA Draft and wound up selecting point guard Spencer Dinwiddie. The Colorado product is an intriguing prospect that passes like a point guard, but scores like a shooting guard. The Pistons took Dinwiddie with their only selection of the night, number 38 overall in the second round.
Detroit Pistons from Flickr via Wylio? 2009 Michael Tipton, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

Dinwiddie grew up in California where he played high school basketball for William Howard Taft High School. The same high school Jordan Farmar (7 NBA seasons) had previously attended. Dinwiddie played alongside fellow 2014 draftee Deandre Daniels (37th overall) while at William Howard Taft, and the two formed a dynamic duo that led to a city championship in 2011. His high school numbers are extremely telling because in a time where he was trying to showcase himself for colleges he was still handing just under 8 assists per game.

Dinwiddie’s hard work paid off with multiple offers to play in college, with Colorado ultimately winning out. Dinwiddie had other offers in the PAC-12, but the school he probably had the most trouble turning down had to be Harvard. Not many get that offer, but Dinwiddie did, and while he chose Colorado, the Harvard offer speaks volumes about what an intelligent young man Dinwiddie is.

Dinwiddie definitely made the most of his time in Boulder. He arrived with a flourish his freshman year as he scored 10 points per night and contributed to a Colorado squad that went to the NCAA tournament. Dinwiddie was voted to the PAC-12 All-Freshman team for his efforts. His sophomore season he was called upon to do more of the scoring, and his averaged jumped to 15 points per game. He went on to lead the Buffaloes to the NCAA tournament again. And although his junior year was cut short by an ACL tear, Dinwiddie was having his best season yet, with averages of 14.7 points, 3.8 assists, and 3.1 rebounds. What was so impressive about Dinwiddie’s season is that the Buffaloes were 14-2 in their first 16 games when he played, then struggled to a 7-8 finish without their leading man. Clearly he was having a major effect on the games.

Now let’s talk about the knee. Dinwiddie tore the ACL back on January 12th, and had surgery on January 20th, and no timetable has been set for his return to basketball activities. The Pistons have already said they don’t expect anything from Dinwiddie in his first year, and they will likely treat having him available at any point in the season as a bonus. The Pistons will exercise extreme caution with Dinwiddie, but there is no reason to think he won’t be able to help some point in the second half of the season. If he can re-gain his explosiveness he could be a nice asset to have off the bench for a Piston team that could be fighting for a playoff spot in a bad Eastern Conference.

The two things we know Dinwiddie didn’t lose with the injury are his two best assets, his shooting stroke, and his passing ability. Dinwiddie does both things in a multitude of ways, and should prove to be a matchup nightmare for opposing point guards. He can catch and shoot, or go ahead and shoot off the bounce with ease. In his three years in Colorado he shot at least 38% from deep every season, and shot just under 47% from the field as a junior. As a passer Dinwiddie does a good job linking up with big men on lobs and finding cutters. He also averaged under 2 turnovers while running the Colorado offense for over 30 minutes per game.

Dinwiddie’s 6-foot-6-inch 205lb. frame will certainly give him a size advantage on most NBA point guards. He’s drawing comparisons to another lanky point guard, Shaun Livingston of the Brooklyn Nets. Livingston had his own well-publicized, gruesome knee injury, but has recovered and carved out a role for himself as a tough defender and good passer. Dinwiddie will look to do the same, but is a much better shooter, and a more capable scorer in general. Dinwiddie can score from anywhere on the floor, and is especially adept in the lane at floating the ball over bigger defenders. A nice skill to have when you are entering a league where every team has a massive rim-protector waiting to toss your shot into the fourth row.

Dinwiddie’s offensive game is well-rounded, and defensively he has the measurables to be a good defender who can guard multiple positions. He will just have to want it. Dinwiddie has been accused of lacking a little fire on the defensive end, so he should be out to prove the doubters wrong, showing that he is a 2-way player. If he plays hard on the defensive end he should have no problem being an effective part of team defensive concept.

While he may not play this season, Dinwiddie could be a steal in a loaded draft class. The Pistons got a first round talent in the second round due to the injury, and they couldn’t be happier about it. Dinwiddie certainly agrees saying “I am the best one in the draft at my position.” Certainly not lacking any confidence, and why should he be when he has proven he can get the job done at every level so far.

Tags: Basketball, Detroit, Detroit Pistons, NBA, Spencer Dinwiddie

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