Since Kyrie Irving’s shoulder injury, Brooklyn has gone from a lottery candidate at 4-7 to right in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff race at 14-12.
The Nets are slightly worse on offense without Irving but markedly better on defense, and have a plus-.6 net rating without him compared to a minus-1.4 with him. Assists are up and so is ball movement (246.5 passes with, 273.6 passes without).
But the most dramatic difference with and without Irving continues to be the play of Spencer Dinwiddie. His traditional numbers, before and after:
Dinwiddie, with Irving (11 games): 17.1 points, 4.6 assists, 13.5 field goal attempts, 41.2 field goal percentage
Dinwiddie, without Irving (15 games): 23.9 points, 7.4 assists, 18.2 field goal attempts, 44 field goal percentage
He’s also been the leading scorer on his team in 11 of those 15 games, and has only scored less than 20 three times. A look at his scoring production without Irving:
Last night, the Nets beat the Embiid-less 76ers, 109-89, and were led by Dinwiddie’s 24 points, his sixth such game with that scoring output.
Should he keep this production up, he’ll likely become a first-time All-Star. The only factor in the way is Irving’s looming return.
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