Brooklyn Nets: A ‘Thank You’ letter to Spencer Dinwiddie

Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Even after a crushing loss to the Milwaukee Bucks a few months ago, the Brooklyn Nets essentially still find themselves on top of the world, carrying three superstars, a solid supporting cast, and a seemingly incorruptible culture into the 2021-22 season. Brooklyn’s title odds are sky high, making them the clear favorites (+225 on WynnBet).

With these circumstances in play, it feels fair to assume that most NBA followers are jealous of Brooklyn fans, whether they admit it or not.

But just a few short years ago, it would have felt laughable to hear those words applied to the Brooklyn Nets. While recovering from the Billy King era, they possessed almost no talent, no daft picks—and no hope.

They did have a tech guy with a jumper, though.

As perhaps the league’s best kept secret until about two years ago, Spencer Dinwiddie ran with the Nets from 2017 until this summer. That stretch allowed him to become one of the few players tied to both the team’s dark days, and its current regime on the cusp of capturing their first ever NBA championship.

Dinwiddie averaged 14.3 points, 5.3 assists, and 3.0 rebounds per game during his tenure with Brooklyn, often playing big during the game’s most pivotal moments. As a second-round pick and G League alum, nobody better represented Brooklyn’s gritty play style and general vibe than Dinwiddie. With him playing his way into a new contract, while also making Brooklyn competitive again, he and the Nets essentially saved each other during from 2017-2019.

But last week, the Nets executed a sign and trade deal with the Washington Wizards to send Dinwiddie away, as they lacked the cap room to bring him back while still maintaining their already-intact roster. It comes as a necessary loss, and as one that was expected by most for some time now, but nonetheless still stings given how much Dinwiddie and the Nets have been through together.

A Brooklyn Nets ‘Thank You’ letter to Spencer Dinwiddie

Fueling the Brooklyn Nets’ “Go Hard” team that made the playoffs for the fist time in four years, Dinwiddie drew admiration from fans seemingly each night during the 2018-19 season.

Although Dinwiddie provided severable unforgettable moments during the campaign, his best one came during a January contest against the Houston Rockets.

Even after trailing by double digits during almost the entire fourth quarter, Dinwiddie scored nine straight points with under 30 seconds to play in regulation. During overtime, he led the way as well, and finished with 33 points and 10 assists to vanquish the Rockets even on a night when his eventual teammate, James Harden, scored 58 points.

Dinwiddie went on to provide similar performances during the following year, even with the team having moved into its Durant/Irving stage. He filled in for the injured Irving often, and provided a spark for a Nets team which many ignored that year due to Durant’s inability to play at the time.

But even amidst all he accomplished for Brooklyn on the court, his influence off of it carried the most weight. As the team’s lead recruiter during the 2019 offseason, it was Dinwiddie who pitched to the Nets to Irving and Durant, who of course signed with the team and changed the franchise forever.

So, put simply, everything you see before right now more or less came by Dinwiddie’s hand.

This makes the fact that Dinwiddie never got to run with Irving, Durant, and Harden perhaps the greatest “bittersweet” tragedy this franchise has ever seen, or will ever see. Nobody deserved a chance to chase a title with the most talented team now assembled in franchise history more than Dinwiddie, making his season-ending ACL tear early last year that much more heartbreaking.

At this point, though, both the Nets and Dinwiddie split paths having come away with great returns on each other’s behalf, making their time allied still something to look back on fondly even despite its unfulfilling end.

When Dinwiddie came to Brooklyn, he had recently been cut by the Detroit Pistons, just trying to stay in the league. Meanwhile, the Nets were the laughing stock of the NBA, looking destined to drudge on without any success for years to come. But now Brooklyn stands as championship favorites, and Dinwiddie is getting paid almost $20 million dollars a year.

Brooklyn fans will undoubtedly still miss him, but certainly wish him the best as well, knowing better than anyone how much he deserves this new pay day.

With nothing left to offer but assurances of his status as a Nets legend, and an undying thank you, we bid farewell to Spencer Dinwiddie, and wish him all the best.