Spencer Dinwiddie has big shoes to fill with Wizards

WASHINGTON (AP) — Spencer Dinwiddie is following some impressive players as the point guard in Washington. That’s a role occupied by Russell Westbrook, John Wall and Gilbert Arenas for much of the past two decades.

“I’m not Gilbert, John or Russ. Those are all dudes with very interesting personalities,” Dinwiddie said Monday. “You’ve got some of the best players — obviously Russ, one of the best players to ever play in terms of the triple-doubles. You’ve got Gilbert, one of the best scorers of all-time. You’ve got John, who had an extended run when you could argue he was the best point guard in the league.”

Dinwiddie freely admitted he hasn’t reached the superstar level in the NBA yet, but he is looking forward to the chance to team up with Bradley Beal and help the Wizards move forward after they traded Westbrook to the Los Angeles Lakers. Dinwiddie agreed to terms with Washington and ended up coming to the Wizards in a sign-and-trade deal that was part of the same massive trade that sent Westbrook to Los Angeles.

A second-round draft pick who has worked his way up through the NBA ranks, Dinwiddie now faces significant expectations — even as he insists he’ll be a different type of player than Westbrook, Wall and Arenas.

“I think I’ll be the first point guard in D.C. history to possibly lobby senators about Bitcoin. We can go with that,” Dinwiddie said. “But in all seriousness, I think just my style of play is very different from them. Like I said, I respect everything that they did, but what I want to be known for is winning, and that’s what I hope to bring to the franchise.”

The 6-foot-5 Dinwiddie played only three games last season for the Brooklyn Nets. He went down in December with a partial tear of his right anterior cruciate ligament, but he said he expects to be in the starting lineup to begin this upcoming season. In 2019-20, he averaged a career-high 20.6 points for the Nets

Dinwiddie’s move was part of a busy offseason for point guards. Kyle Lowry went to the Miami Heat, and Lonzo Ball is now with the Chicago Bulls.

“Obviously Russ was the domino that opened up Washington,” Dinwiddie said. “To me, I felt like I should be the second one off the board, understanding Kyle has won a championship, obviously was going to command a near-max contract. … I think it shook out that obviously I was third, because Lonzo went to Chicago.”

Now the Wizards have Dinwiddie in their backcourt with Beal — although Beal’s future with the team has been the topic of plenty of speculation.

“Obviously, I spoke to him, and obviously he’s his own man and his decisions are his own. So I can’t talk about his plans or what he’s going to do,” Dinwiddie said. “I think right now we’re both willing to kind of take a little bit of a bet on each other and try to do something special. All we can kind of focus on is the now, and if plans change then they change, but we’re here now and have a really special chance.”

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Follow Noah Trister at https://twitter.com/noahtrister

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