Dinwiddie: The Player the Mavs Need and Deserve

The Dallas Mavericks have struggled in the clutch this season. The Mavs clutch game numbers were poor between opening night on October 21st, 2021, and February 12th, 2022. For instance, their plus/minus was -2.2, 29th in the league, and they had a 12-15 record (16th) and shot 40.4% (21st) on FGs. This is a bunch of numbers, but it boils down to the Mavs losing more games than they won in the clutch and getting outscored overall. There were some factors at play, though, such as Luka missing 15 games and KP only playing in 15 (it was 34, but at this point, who cares?). In other words, the Mavs were terrible in the clutch.

On February 10th, the Mavericks traded Kristaps Porzingis to the Washington Wizards for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. Since February 15th (Din and Bert’s first game in a Mavs uniform), the Mavs have gone 5-1. All six games have been clutch games (score within 5 points with 5 minutes left in the game). They are 1st in plus/minus (+5.8), 1st in Wins (5, obviously), and 4th in FG% (52.9%). Six games is a limited sample size, but it certainly seems that the Mavs clutch is heading in the correct direction. A big part of that reason is Spencer Dinwiddie.

In the first two games as a Mav, Dinwiddie was more hesitant to shoot and deferred to other players, clearly because he was trying to figure out his role and didn’t want to rock the boat until he became more comfortable with the team. He had just come from a toxic Wizards locker room where most players were concerned more about playing time and less about winning (which explains a lot about that team). He learned quickly that the Mavericks locker room was a complete 180° (or 360° for those of you who remember Kidd’s comments in the 90s). By game 3, Dinwiddie found his role: facilitate, score, and be a calming presence, especially in the 4th. In the last three games, Dinwiddie is averaging 19/5 and has been crucial in the clutch. He’s hit timely shots made great passes to Luka for a catch and shoot (yes, Luka can catch and shoot, he just needed someone to get him the ball in a good spot). The Mavs had Luka and their defense going for them, and all they needed was a glue to hold them together in the clutch, and it seems they found that in Spencer Dinwiddie.

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