Transformation: Spencer Dinwiddie’s Fresh Start in Dallas.


“Your work environment can be like dating sometimes. You want the person that wants you.”

Spencer Dinwiddie felt disappointed after getting traded from Washington just months after signing a three-year, $62 million deal. In the previous season, The Wizards earned the final Eastern Conference playoff spot before being defeated by the Philadelphia 76ers 4 games to 1. Spencer saw the Wizards as an organization where he could step into a starting guard spot next to Bradley Beal and help build on the previous season’s success. Unfortunately, that would not be the case.

So What Exactly Happened in Washington

The Washington Wizards were in the market for a starting point guard after trading Russell Westbrook and acquiring Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell.  Spencer Dinwiddie was a free agent and coming back from a partially torn right ACL back in December of 2020, in which Spencer only played three games for Brooklyn Nets after the season-ending injury. Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard gave Spencer a chance to start fresh and regain the abilities displayed in Brooklyn before his injury.

Spencer wasn’t a fit in Washington on or off the court during his short tenure. When asked what exactly went wrong in Washington from an insider perspective, NBC Sports Washington Reporter Chase Hughes (@ChaseHughesNBCS) had this to say:

“The Wizards signed Spencer Dinwiddie hoping he could be their point guard for the next several years following the Russell Westbrook trade. It didn’t work out for a few reasons, one of them being they wanted him to be a facilitator in the starting lineup and that’s not the role he was at his best in with the Nets. It’s not surprising to me that he’s thriving in Dallas while playing a style more akin to what he was doing in Brooklyn, which is as a secondary scorer mostly coming off the bench.

Dinwiddie was also returning from ACL surgery and was going to need some time to get his bearings. He was doing that while the Wizards were trying to right the ship with him as a key component. That was not ideal, especially when they returned Thomas Bryant and then had two players coming off ACL surgeries in their starting lineup. 

Then, there were also some questions about how the personalities and playing styles meshed. The Wizards had Bradley Beal at the top of their roster and then not much separating the next five or six players. That led to confusion and frustration over roles. Dinwiddie was in that group. His game also never gelled with Beal, which of course was a major problem given how important they were to the team’s success.”

“I got wrote off 30 games into the season. Your first year you are getting your rhythm back. Being 28 having a great recovery so far. I definitely look to get back to that level.” Spencer said during a postgame press conference in Dallas.

Trade to Dallas

On February 10th, Dinwiddie’s journey took him to Dallas as part of a trade-deadline deal that sentKristaps Porzingis and a 2nd round pick to Washington Wizards for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. 

“…to get talent, you have to give up talent…”

Wizards President and General Manager, Tommy Sheppard

Wizards Present and General Manager, Tommy Sheppard told The Washington Post after the trade finalized “…to get talent you have to give up talent…”. For that reason, Sheppard decided to trade Spencer and Dāvis to Dallas for Kristaps Porziņģis. The hope for Washington is that the 7’3” big man would be a better fit and talent upgrade next to Bradley Beal. The Wizards made this move to improve their team long term, pivoting toward developing a younger core around their star to convince Beal to re-sign this offseason.

Now, Spencer begins a new path as the third playmaker for a team that holds the 9th best record in the NBA. A new beginning for Dallas as well, after the Mavs spent two and a half years working to make the duo consisting of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis co-exist. Dallas Mavericks GM Nico Harrison said the trade was made to give the team flexibility for the future, add depth and just make the team better. Nico also mentioned that Kristaps Porziņģis’ health played a big role in making the trade with Washington.

Jalen Brunson on Spencer Dinwiddie joining the Mavs: “I think he can be great, both of them (Spencer Dinwiddie and Dāvis Bertāns) can be great. To have another ball handler…. We are very excited.”

Finding Success in Dallas

Spencer Dinwiddie has fit in seamlessly on and off the court, instantly buying into the Mavericks system. His role was defined immediately upon arrival, he was here to be the third playmaker on the team and to keep it simple. If Spencer is in the game with Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson, be ready to catch-and-shoot. If Spencer isn’t in the game with the primary playmakers, be ready to attack the defense and make plays. 

The off the court transition to Dallas was also easy for Dinwiddie. Spencer has two close friends on the team in Theo Pinson and Reggie Bullock. While trying to show leadership in Washington, Dinwiddie said he was shut out. A winning environment tends to cure everything though, players on the Dallas Mavericks roster listen when Spencer speaks.

Mark Cuban shared exclusively with Mavs Fans For Life his thoughts on  how Spencer Dinwiddie has fit into Dallas thus far:

“Spencer has been incredible.  The guys have really taken to him.  And it’s even better seeing the fun his family is having too.”

“I knew he could score the ball, he’s a baller. Just glad to have him.” Luka Doncić on Spencer Dinwiddie.

Spencer has been a huge addition for the Mavs, providing a much-needed third playmaker and having another scorer in the final minutes of games. Dinwiddie is 1 of only 12 Maverick players since 1996 to hit a game winning buzzer beater and he has done it twice already against the Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets. The thing that stands out so far with Spencer is the selflessness. Even when Spencer has big games for Dallas, he continues to give credit to Luka Doncic, Jalen Brunson and Jason Kidd for helping him adjust to the Dallas system.

“We’ve got a special situation where we have now another guy who can dribble and make decisions and score the ball. So it’s not just heavily on (Jalen) and Luka. Now Spencer is in the game. I can play all three of them. That’s the beauty of our depth right now.” Jason Kidd on having three guards who are capable to start on the team.

Opposed to the time Spencer spent in Washington, everyone in Dallas knows their role and that is the beauty behind the Mavs success. Dallas is 11-3 in the games that Spencer Dinwiddie has played in this season. 

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