Should the Brooklyn Nets Give Isaiah Whitehead His Starting Role Back?


The Brooklyn Nets have had a whole lot of uncertainty this season at arguably the most important position on the floor, the point guard. Star acquisition Jeremy Lin has had an injured hamstring all season, leaving Isaiah Whitehead to learn on the fly.

Isaiah Whitehead has had a much more significant role on this team this season than he, the Brooklyn Nets, and the fans ever expected him to have. Coming into the season, Jeremy Lin was the new starting point guard, and Greivis Vasquez was his primary backup. Vasquez never healed from a previous injury and was waived. Lin hurt, re-hurt, and again, re-hurt his hamstring and has only played in 12 games this season.

This left 42nd pick and a work-in-progress Brooklynite to get a big chance at the big stage. Isaiah Whitehead, a Brooklyn native and a product of nearby Seton Hall University, was inserted into the starting lineup nearly immediately following Lin’s first injury. At the beginning, it was a rocky road to say the least. It still has rocky moments now, but Whitehead has been an integral part of this team.

Whitehead Through the Season

Whitehead was known as a scorer in college. In the pros, not so much. The rookie did not crack double-digit scoring until November 20th against the Portland Trail Blazers, when he tallied 11 points.

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Despite his offense not being a total factor, Whitehead has heart and fight in him night in and night out. In games where his shot is off, he will be the one running the floor and trying to control the floor offensively as well. Whitehead is always trying to get the ball and make contributions in any way possible.

His progression has been something else, too. Fans will look back at the Halloween game against the Bulls, the first extended look we all had at Whitehead. In his 21 minutes, he committed five turnovers and only shot 3-of-11 from the field.

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In the last game against the Spurs, Whitehead saw 29 minutes, scored 19 points on 6-of-15 shooting, and committed only one turnover. He did that off the bench, too. The bench has been Whitehead’s home since injuring his knee in the loss against the Pelicans on January 12th.

After sitting out one game, Whitehead was back in action off the bench, which was understandable. Here we are, eight days removed from his return to action (January 15th against the Rockets), and Whitehead is still coming off of the bench in favor of Spencer Dinwiddie.

How Has Dinwiddie Done?

Dinwiddie is another young player whom has a good amount of development needed. In the starts since Whitehead’s injury, Dinwiddie is averaging 6.3 points per game. In two of those six games, Dinwiddie actually scored zero points.

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The last game against the Spurs, Dinwiddie got the start again and scored 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting. He made sure that he is improving each game too, making it harder on Coach Atkinson to decide which of these young players to start each night.


Regardless if Whitehead gets his starting job back soon, both Dinwiddie and Whitehead will lose the starting role in (hopefully) three weeks when Jeremy Lin returns. Granted, Lin will probably come off the bench for a little while to verify that he is actually fully healed, but Lin will ultimately get it back once he is ready to go.

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It is fair to say that Whitehead should get his starting spot back. Taking it away from him could diminish his confidence and could deter his progression. The Nets invested a lot more in Whitehead and he has, so far, shown a much higher ceiling than Dinwiddie. Give the Brooklyn native his starting spot back; he is not going to have it for that much longer anyway.