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Mavs' Spencer Dinwiddie Key to Another Deep Playoff Run

After a successful transition from Washington to Dallas, can Spencer Dinwiddie take his game to the next level?

The Dallas Mavericks are no strangers to taking gambles. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose.

Last season, the team rolled the dice by trading Kristaps Porzingis to the Washington Wizards for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans, which resulted in the team making it all the way to the Western Conference Finals.

However, they also rolled the dice by holding off contract negotiations with now-New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson until after the trade deadline, which resulted in Dallas losing its second-leading scorer. 

Now, the Mavs must replace Brunson's value either through free agency, trade, or within if they want to take the next step toward being a true title contender.

The Mavs, for now at least, appear to have chosen the latter route, as coach Jason Kidd spoke about the idea of Dinwiddie replacing Brunson. 

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"We can't replace Brunson, he's a great player," said Kidd. "We believe the points will be there and we believe we're going to be a bigger team with Spencer starting."

Will Dinwiddie be capable of taking on his bigger role with more responsibilities? One would think so, as he was the team's third-leading scorer in the playoffs and played a pivotal role in relieving Luka Doncic's minutes. 

In Game 7 against the Phoenix Suns, the duo of Doncic and Dinwiddie combined for 65 points — the first pair of teammates to do since Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant in the 2002 Western Conference finals. 

While Dinwiddie, doesn't necessarily match Brunson's flashy style or off-ball presence, he's still an effective scorer who gets to the free-throw line often. Before his efficiency took a dip in the playoffs, Dinwiddie averaged 15.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game while shooting 49.8 percent from the field, including 40.4 percent from 3-point range. He also averaged 4.7 free-throw attempts per game.

The 180-degree turn Dinwiddie experienced after coming over from Washington was nothing short of remarkable. Can he sustain it, though?

During the 2019-2020 season, Dinwiddie averaged 20.6 points per game for the Brooklyn Nets. If he can get back to his old form — and studies show players get closer to that in the second year back from an ACL injury —Dallas should have no problem making another deep playoff run.