Brooklyn Nets: Spencer Dinwiddie to play for Team Nigeria

Spencer Dinwiddie Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Spencer Dinwiddie Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

In a surprising twist, Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie plans on taking his talents to Tokyo in 2021.

Over the weekend, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets is acquiring a Nigerian passport to suit up for their national team in 2021.

Olympic Basketball grabbed the headlines for three different reasons this weekend from all different corners of the globe. Michael Jordan from the 1984 U-S-of-A team checks in courtesy of this little thing called “The Last Dance,” and then we have the Grandfather of Australian Basketball, old Aussie Andrew Bogut, announcing trepidation over his spot at the next games.

Dinwiddie exhibited during a torrid stretch in December 2019 (27 points per game), as the Bitcoin champion proved he could be more than just serviceable as a lead ball-handler.

With Nigeria, he will likely carry around a James Harden level of usage, but by no means is this a slight against his teammates. Relative to most Olympic challengers from Africa, this collection of talent has a chance to become the first nation from the continent to make the Quarterfinals.

Josh Okogie, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Ekpe Udoh have earned their keep in the NBA on the defensive end of the floor, and thus the onus on the Colorado product will be to shoulder most of the load on the other end.

Fortunately, his game has proven successful in an isolation environment.

Of players attempting at least two isolations per game, Dinwiddie averaged 1.05 points per possession in the 2018-19 season, good for sixth in the league (he fell to 16th in the same category this season). Ahead of him? Names limited to James Harden, Jimmy Butler, Kevin Durant, Khris Middleton, and Derrick Rose.

Dinwiddie won’t be the only Net representative out in Tokyo next year. He was not offered an invitation to play for Team USA, but that did not stop his teammates Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Joe Harris from making the 44-man shortlist released in February.

While Dinwiddie is probably a better all-around NBA player than Harris, the former Virginia and Cleveland Cavalier’s deadeye shooting fills a far nicer niche than Dinwiddie’s isolation scoring (considering the presence of the US’s other talents). On the flip side, Nigeria could really use Dinwiddie’s scoring abilities in isolation.

Since moving to Brooklyn, three active members of a Net roster have played at the Olympic Games. The first was Deron Williams in 2012, serving as Chris Paul‘s backup as Team USA marched to a Gold Medal. In 2016, Bojan Bogdanović went supernova as he led Croatia all to the way to a surprising Silver Medal. He also serves as the surprising answer to the trivia question of “who was the leading scorer of the 2016 Olympics?” (It was good ol’ Bogey, at 25.3 points per game).

The last Net? The recently-signed Luis Scola, who was the leading rebounder on an Argentina team that was crushed by Team USA in the Quarterfinals.

For Nigeria, even reaching that stage at Tokyo 2021 would be a tremendous accomplishment — but an accomplishment that is certainly within sight.

dark. Next. Brooklyn Nets: 5 Games That Defined the 2019-2020 Season

Prediction: Dinwiddie and co. make a historic Quarterfinal appearance before bowing out to a bigger superpower

Sidebar: Timothe-Luwawu Cabarrot could also be a surprising addition to Team France for 2021. This is completely irrelevant, Just a sidebar.