Wizards must bring Spencer Dinwiddie back to the player he was at the start of the year

Wizards Must Get Spencer Dinwiddie Back On Track, Originally Appeared On NBC Sports Washington When Wizards Took Charge …

Wizards must get Spencer Dinwiddie back on track, originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

When the Wizards gained momentum in the last offseason and moved away from the heaviest payroll that has defined their roster in recent years, the idea was that they would be less dependent on individual players. In the first few weeks of this season, it played out as a result, as they got over the injuries and dead nights of their top scorers.

But over the past month or so, they’ve come to realize how important it is to them that Spencer Dinwiddie plays well. He is their starting point guard, their first offensive and defensive line. And when he leaves, they leave.

Its trajectory this season has perfectly reflected the Wizards as a team. When they started the year 10-3, he averaged 17.0 points and 6.0 assists while shooting 42.9 percent from the field and 37.7 percent from three. In their last 15 games, of which they’ve lost 10, he’s averaged just 9.3 points and 4.3 assists while shooting 33.3% overall and 27.8% deep.

While this is a perfect correlation, that doesn’t mean it was their only problem. In fact, there are a lot of things they need to fix. But as the starting point guard, his play clearly makes a difference whether they win or lose.

Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. appears to see Dinwiddie’s struggles in part through the lens of his developing chemistry with star shooter Bradley Beal, who also played below his usual standards to start this season.

“We have to find a way to put those two on the same page and make them both aggressive and play well on the offensive side. It’s been a struggle for us, ”Unseld Jr. said.

“I think that’s something we really need to refine and understand because they’re two of our best players. We need them both to play at a high level and to have the best version of themselves.

There is no doubt that Beal and Dinwiddie have struggled together. They have a net score of -7.2 in duet over 403 minutes. Line-ups with these two have an offensive rating of 98.7 and a defensive rating of 105.9.

Dinwiddie, 28, is coming out of a serious injury, which could be part of the equation. He underwent surgery to repair a partially torn ACL in January and is only 11 months away from the procedure. He happened to have started the season really well, then struggled to grow, instead of the other way around.

Even Unseld Jr. admitted that the way things turned out is confusing.

“It’s the season in general, there can be lulls in the way everyone is playing. I hope this is only a brief lull for him and that we can get him back on track. But there really isn’t that important [differences] As long as [defensive] cover or even what we’re running, so it’s kind of a mystery, ”Unseld Jr. said.

You can see from the numbers that Dinwiddie isn’t quite back to the style that suited him before his injury. This season he’s shooting a low career percentage of field goal attempts within three feet of the rim (15.2%), proving he doesn’t get there as often as he did when he was. flourished with the Brooklyn Nets. This is coupled with the fact that he is a career 31.9% three-point shooter.

Dinwiddie also averages just 2.9 free throw attempts per game, well below the 7.0 free throws he averaged in 2019-20, his last healthy season in Brooklyn. While the NBA applies the fouling rules differently this season, that alone doesn’t explain the drop.

Unseld Jr. expressed confidence that Dinwiddie can reach the rim whenever he wants, that it is about doing it at the right time with the right spacing and at the right angle. The Wizards head coach believes pick-and-roll is the key to getting Dinwiddie down – that is, when he’s at his best.

Beal says he and Dinwiddie can help each other in this regard.

“I think we’re both aggressive. That’s about all I can point out. Whether it’s scoring or playing, we have to play a little faster, ”he said.

Dinwiddie’s play is not the only reason for the Wizard’s recent loss, but it was a major cause of their early season success. They have to figure out how to get this guy back.

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