Coming off an ACL injury and dealing with locker room tension, Dinwiddie’s stint with the Wizards was stressful for him, and his numbers reflected that. However, things changed drastically for him when he was traded to the Mavs in February.
In 23 regular-season games for Dallas, Dinwiddie averaged 15.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists while shooting 49.8 percent from the field and 40.4 percent from deep. He had a handful of clutch moments as well, including a 30-point Game 7 performance against the top-seeded Phoenix Suns to help the Mavs reach the Western Conference Finals.
Dinwiddie joined teammate and good friend Theo Pinson’s Run Your Race podcast this week to explain why things were so much better for him in Dallas last year … and Dorian Finney-Smith played a big role.
"Having two friends here already, coming to the locker room, everybody accepted me,” said Dinwiddie.
“Doe [Dorian Finney-Smith] came up to me, it was like the third game I played, because I was still trying to pass [more] to fit in, and I think I had like eight points my first two games. He was like, ‘yo bro, we couldn’t guard you in Brooklyn. You heard what the coach said. If Luka and JB ain’t got the ball, go get it.’ And it was like damn!”
This story from Dinwiddie further confirms just how good of a deal the Mavs got by signing Finney-Smith to a four-year, $56 million contract extension last season. Not only is he a 3-and-D glue guy on the court, but he’s a glue guy off the court as well by constantly encouraging his teammates.
Dinwiddie has another big challenge ahead of him this season, as he’ll be starting next to Luka Doncic in the Mavs’ backcourt. It’s more responsibility for him than when Jalen Brunson was on the roster, but now that he’s had a full offseason not having to worry about ACL recovery, Dinwiddie should be capable of answering the call.
In the seven regular-season games Dinwiddie started for the Mavs last year, he averaged 21.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.4 steals while shooting 49.2 percent overall and 40.5 percent from deep.
“I don’t really see myself filling Jalen’s role per se. There were a lot of games (last season) I finished games, there were games I played without Luka and without JB, and where I started games as well,” said Dinwiddie. “But in terms of the mentality, green means go. Go make plays and try to win the game.”
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