After he was drafted 38th overall by the Detroit Pistons in 2014 and traded to the Chicago Bulls two years later, Spencer Dinwiddie suddenly found himself in NBA purgatory. He was toiling in the D-League with Chicago's affiliate and was eventually out of the NBA for a few months that winter after the Bulls waived him.
The Brooklyn Nets signed the 6-foot-6 point guard that December and Dinwiddie never looked back. Fast-forward nearly two seasons and the 24-year-old has established himself as one of the league's premier backup point guards and is fully confident, comfortable and ingrained in the Nets' system.
"I think the biggest difference that separates guys in the league is being comfortable and being confident in whatever it is that you're doing and your role," Dinwiddie said from his locker prior to his matchup against the Nuggets. "My Detroit situation was really up and down but here it's starting to normalize and be a little bit more smooth."
Last season in Brooklyn, Dinwiddie appeared in 59 games (18 starts) and averaged 7.3 points, 3.1 assists in 22.6 minutes per game. When the Nets trading for starter D'Angelo Russell this summer, Dinwiddie once again settled into the backup role but has upped his production to 10.3 points and 5.4 assists per contest. He's also shooting an elite 45.7 percent from three this season.
"It's what I've worked on all offseason," Dinwiddie said of his three-point shot. "But to see the fruits of your labor be on the floor, it's great."
Talk to those around the Nets' organization about Dinwiddie, especially coach Kenny Atkinson and they keep talking about Dinwiddie because they don't run out of good things to say about the Colorado product.
"A great kid," Atkinson said pregame.
"He's bought into our program and our offseason development program," Brooklyn's coach continued. "He wasn't the most confident player when he came in, I think he took a hit being out of the league a little, and he just keeps growing. It's the basketball development but also the physical development. He's played really well for us."
Like many young players in the league, the next step for Dinwiddie is consistency. He scored a season-high 22 points on 7-13 shooting in an Oct. 25 win over Cleveland but followed that up with just four points on a paltry 1-3 shooting versus the Knicks two nights later.
Dinwiddie hit the 22-point threshold a few days later in Brooklyn's first matchup of the year with Denver just nine days ago but has registered 15, four and seven points in his three games since.
"I think consistency takes you from good to great," Dinwiddie said. "I obviously want to be a great player in this league and I've held steadfast in that belief in who I am and in my talent level."
Although he's on the East Coast, Dinwiddie still stays connected to the Colorado family. He was back on campus in September, spent some time with the basketball team and thinks they have a lot of talent heading into the season after a couple of down years.
"This was a great point in my basketball career," Dinwiddie said reflecting on being back in Colorado. "I'll forever be a Buff and love CU."