Spencer Dinwiddie’s play earned him the pay day he had been seeking, but since signing a 3-year, $34.3 million extension on Dec. 14, he’s not slowing down.
Dinwiddie signed a three-year, $34.3 million extension on Dec. 14, a deal that includes a player option for the final year. That was six days after he became eligible for the deal following the anniversary of his signing with the Nets in December 2016.
The extension is Dinwiddie’s fourth NBA contract. In a league where first-round draft picks look to secure a big second deal, Dinwiddie had to travel a much longer and more difficult road.
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He was projected as a potential lottery pick before tearing the ACL in his left knee in January 2014 as a junior at the University of Colorado.
Dinwiddie entered the NBA Draft anyway and fell to the Detroit Pistons in the second round at No. 38 overall.
He never got much of a shot in Detroit, where he played in just 46 games over two seasons, averaging 4.4 points and 2.7 assists in 13.3 minutes per game before being traded to the Chicago Bulls in June 2016.
The Bulls waived Dinwiddie three weeks later before bringing him back on a veteran’s minimum deal after he played well for Chicago’s NBA Summer League entry.
He appeared in five preseason games for the Bulls before he was waived again in October 2016 and wound up allocated to Chicago’s affiliate in what was then the D League, the Windy City Bulls.
He played well in the second-tier league, averaging 19.4 points, 3.7 assists, 8.1 rebounds and 2.2 steals in 37.4 minutes over nine games, shooting 47.9 percent overall and 41.4 percent from 3-point range.
He put up decent numbers in 59 games that season, making 18 starts and averaging 7.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 22.6 minutes a night on 44.4 percent shooting overall and hit 37.6 percent from deep.
Last season, Dinwiddie was a reserve until D’Angelo Russell — newly acquired that offseason — injured a knee in mid-November and missed two months. Dinwiddie relinquished the starting role shortly after Russell returned and went into a bit of a shooting funk.
He still wound up as a finalist for the Most Improved Player award after averaging 12.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 6.6 assists in 28.8 minutes per game, while shooting just 38.7 percent overall and 32.6 percent from long range.
This season, Dinwiddie has thrown his hat in the ring for another trophy — this time Sixth Man of the Year — and continued tearing it up off the bench Sunday night in a victory over the Phoenix Suns that gives Brooklyn eight wins in its last nine games.
Dinwiddie dropped 24 points — 11 in the fourth quarter as the Nets fended off a late run by the Suns — to go with seven assists.
He was 7-for-14 overall, 2-for-5 from deep and 8-of-9 at the line, part of a growing trend of late.
Dinwiddie is driving more and heaving off-balance fadeaway 3s much less and he’s thriving with the driving.
Among NBA players averaging at least eight drives per game, Dinwiddie is eighth in the NBA, shooting 55.8 percent off the bounce in 13.4 drives a night.
His shooting is much improved over last season, 47.5 percent overall and 36.7 percent from deep, and he’s gotten to the line an average of 5.1 times per game, up from 3.4 last season. He’s also putting up 17.6 points, 2.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists in 28.9 minutes per game.
And in December, his aggressiveness has taken flight. Dinwiddie is averaging 20.8 points per game in December to go with 7.4 free throw attempts.
Since signing his new extension, Dinwiddie is averaging 21.0 points, 2.8 boards and 6.0 dimes in 29.9 minutes over the last six games, shooting 48 percent overall, 36.4 percent from long range and 82.4 percent at the line on a whopping 8.5 attempts a night.
Yes, he’s been even better since getting the bag. That speaks well for Spencer Dinwiddie’s future in Brooklyn, to be sure.