How can the Brooklyn Nets use Irving, LeVert, and Dinwiddie?

Brooklyn Nets Spencer Dinwiddie (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Spencer Dinwiddie (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Starting guards Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert continue to miss time with ongoing injuries, yet the Brooklyn Nets continue to win behind Spencer Dinwiddie. What comes next?

During this NBA season’s early days, we grew accustomed to seeing Kyrie Irving splashing home 3-pointers with Caris LeVert by his side offering freakishly athletic highlights each night at the Barclay’s Center for the Brooklyn Nets.

Although Irving and LeVert remain beside each other as we continue to play into December, they can now only be seen along the sideline, wearing suits instead of jerseys and cheering on their teammates as they continue to nurse their injuries.

LeVert, who underwent minor thumb surgery in November leading to his absence, saw his backcourt companion go down just a few days later with a vaguely described shoulder injury.

Amidst this injury bug, most around the NBA understandably expected Brooklyn to drop some additional games and generally digress with their play. Contrarily, the Nets appear determined to bring their tendency to surpass expectations from last year’s campaign into this one, as the team has oddly enough thrived with Irving and LeVert astray.

Fueled by All-Star level efforts from Spencer Dinwiddie, who has averaged 23.8 points per game since replacing Irving, Brooklyn continues to trend upward.

Although Jarrett Allen‘s recent aggressiveness around the rim and the entire team’s defensive improvements deserve some recognition as well in their efforts to help Brooklyn stay afloat, Dinwiddie undoubtedly stands as the piece most vital to the team’s unexpected elevation.

Naturally, the question of what to do once Irving and LeVert return now swells around Brooklyn, as the team may soon possess three healthy starting-caliber guards.

With such a unique issue at hand for head coach Kenny Atkinson, I believe the team will need an equally unique solution in order to assemble a lineup most beneficial to all.

More specifically, I would like to see Brooklyn return to an Irving-LeVert starting backcourt. However, during each game’s closing five minutes, Atkinson should swap Dinwiddie for LeVert at the shooting guard spot.

During these last few weeks, Dinwiddie illustrated his ability to orchestrate an offense from the point guard position with effectiveness and creativity, giving a reason as to why he might benefit the team to a greater level when running his own unit with the team’s reserves. Dinwiddie should return to his sixth-man role

If Atkinson were to slide Dinwiddie over to the shooting guard spot — as it should go without saying that upon his return Irving will start at point guard — this would no longer provide Dinwiddie with a chance to do what he does best, operating as a floor general. To force Dinwiddie into a less influential role as a secondary ball-handler beside Irving frankly puts a cap on his ability to help the Brooklyn win.

However, after watching Dinwiddie knock down shots in crunch time such as his game-winner against Denver last week, planting him on the bench during equally crucial moments going forward feels like a fatal mistake. Undoubtedly gifted as a closer, Dinwiddie simply must play when it counts most, despite his accommodation to the role Irving will be playing at the time.

Although Irving too shares this clutch trait which Dinwiddie exemplifies so well, it never hurts to have another fearless, yet level-headed presence on the court, especially when we consider Brooklyn’s continued struggles to close out games this year.

Regardless, this issue which currently lies before Brooklyn reeks with positivity, as having too many talented pieces doesn’t hurt. Still, once Irving and LeVert do return, exactly how Atkinson choses to utilize said talent is certainly something to keep an eye on.

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