What the loss of Spencer Dinwiddie means for the Brooklyn Nets

Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

Spencer Dinwiddie has a partially torn ACL and is expected to miss the rest of the season. How will this injury impact the Brooklyn Nets?

The Brooklyn Nets received some unfortunate news Monday afternoon when news broke that starting guard Spencer Dinwiddie had suffered a partial tear of his right ACL during Sunday night’s 106-104 loss to the Charlotte Hornets. According to ESPN’s Malika Andrews, Dinwiddie will be undergoing surgery to address the injury next week.

Dinwiddie had gotten off to a slow start during Brooklyn’s first three games, averaging a meager 6.7 points per game on 28.6 percent three-point shooting across 64 minutes. But while his counter stats weren’t impressive, a deeper look at the more advanced metrics paint a healthy picture of Dinwiddie’s value.

The three-man line-up of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and Dinwiddie appeared in 58 minutes entering Monday night – second behind the 78 minutes of Irving, Durant, and Joe Harris and accumulated a net rating of +32.8 and plus/minus of +44. While the majority of the credit for these gaudy numbers can be attributed to the overwhelming dominance of Durant and Irving, to a lesser extent – the presence of Dinwiddie alongside them in the starting rotation gave the Nets a third ball-handling, outside threat, which functioned as a pressure-release valve for their stars.

Dinwiddie is gone now and along with him that embarrassment of ball-handling riches on the wing. To be clear, Dinwiddie’s injury will not make-or-break Brooklyn’s chances at an NBA title, but it will make things more difficult for them, even if only slightly.

Caris LeVert – who has been excelling as the team’s sixth man to the tune of 13.3 points on 35.7 percent shooting from deep with solid rebounding and assist numbers – is the most likely player to replace Dinwiddie in the starting lineup. However, he is less of a ball-handler and more of a scoring wing. Still, LeVert would provide enough offensive gravity and defensive chops to relieve some of the load placed on the shoulders of Durant and Irving.

The loss of Dinwiddie would be a major blow for the vast majority of teams in the NBA, but the Nets aren’t like the vast majority of NBA teams. They have the talent and depth to overcome such a loss without experiencing much in the way of bumps in the road. Brooklyn will still be the heavy favorite to reach the NBA Finals out of the Eastern Conference. After all, they still have Kevin Durant and at the end of the day, that’s all the truly matters.

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