Heading into the 2018-2019 season, there was a general consensus that the Nets would be Kyrie Irving’s team. Kyrie would be paired in the backcourt with emerging young star Caris LeVert and would be backed up by one of the premier bench players in the league, Spencer Dinwiddie. So far, the season has been far from that. Kyrie Irving has missed the past 23 games with a mysterious shoulder impingement injury that was originally diagnosed to keep him out for a few games. Just a few days ago, Kyrie spoke for the first time since his injury. He revealed that he has bursitis in his shoulder and has taken cortisone shots to try to avoid in-season surgery. In addition to Kyrie, Caris Lezvert had surgery on his thumb and has been out since November 10. As a result, most of the ball-handling duties have fallen on the lap of Spencer Dinwiddie to lead this team.
Known for his elite playmaking and three-point shooting, Dinwiddie has not taken this opportunity for granted. In fact, Dinwiddie has been playing at an all-star level, raising his points per game and assists per game averages to 22.4 and 6.2. Obviously, Dinwiddie has taken over the reins just fine. The only issue with the Nets right now is pretty much everyone else!
Unfortunately, the Nets have lost their past seven games, and have fallen four games below .500, blowing large leads in the fourth quarter to the Timberwolves (who were without KAT and Wiggins) and the Raptors (who were without Gasol and Siakam). Caris LeVert recently returned to the lineup against the Raptors, but he looked a bit rusty and it will take time for him to get back into game shape. With Garrett Temple seemingly taking a step back and Tauren Prince going through an all-time shooting slump, Spencer Dinwiddie has been left as the only reliable player on this Nets team. He has had to show-up night-in-and-night-out, playing the most minutes and drawing the most attention from opposing teams defenses. A team cannot be successful with only one productive player. The Nets season is spiraling out of control, and the only man who is going to be able to save them is Spencer Dinwiddie. He is the only player on this team who has not let the team down, not gotten injured, or gone through a slump. This Nets team needs to get their act together before it is too late, which means they can’t count on Kyrie Irving’s return. It has to be mentioned that the Nets should consider just shutting down Kyrie for the rest of the season. Realistically, the Nets will not be higher than the 7th seed with the way they have been playing, and do not have any real championship aspirations this season. Sitting Kyrie out for the rest of the season must at least be considered by the Nets, as this injury can hurt Kyrie in the long-run. This season is eventually a throw-away before Kevin Durant comes back. For the time being, the Nets need to find that spark they had earlier in the season. If they don’t, their postseason may be in jeopardy.