Not exactly a defensive pairing
Reportedly, the plan in Brooklyn is to pair D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie in the starting backcourt, taking a combo-guard approach to both the 1 and 2 spots.
The hope is to create more off-the-ball opportunities for Russell.
They are both big guards — Russell is 6-foot-5 and 195 pounds and Dinwiddie is listed at 6-foot-6 and 200 pounds — so they have the size to handle the defensive assignments.
But among players with at 1,000 minutes played last season, Russell had the worst defensive rating on the club at 111.7 points per 100 possessions, per NBA.com.
The next-worst rating? Dinwiddie at 108.9.
There isnt a tremendous sample size for their ability to co-exist, but what data does exist is … not promising.
Dinwiddie and Russell were on the court together for 353 minutes in 39 games last season. In those 9.1 minutes per game together, the Nets shot 44 percent from the floor and 34.8 percent from deep (compared to the team’s averages of 44.1 percent and 35.6 percent, respectively).
Most concerning was the tandem played to a net scoring differential per 48 minutes of minus-10.5.
The hope has to be that playing together more frequently will allow Russell and Dinwiddie to settle into a better flow than their infrequent pairings a season ago.
Defensive assignments can be juggled based on matchups and both are capable of guarding — or attempting to guard — the 1 or the 2.
Offensively, the two seem to complement each other well — both can run the offense or go off the ball, adding flexibility and an air of unpredictability to the attack.
The question will be if they can produce enough offense to offset the defensive issues.