Five things to know about new Lakers guard Spencer Dinwiddie

The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t make a trade before this season’s trade deadline. But they have added a quality player to their roster via the buyout market in veteran guard Spencer Dinwiddie.

Dinwiddie, 30, was traded by the Brooklyn Nets to the Toronto Raptors on Thursday just prior to the deadline. The Raptors instantly waived him, setting the scene for L.A. to nab him on Saturday once he cleared waivers.

It’s possible the 6-foot-5, 215-pound man may not make much of a positive impact. But given his talent and skill sets, he could end up being an X-factor as the Lakers look to make another late-season run and reach the playoffs.

Here are five things fans should know about Dinwiddie.

His outside shooting is a mixed bag

On the surface and at first glance, it would seem Dinwiddie is a poor 3-point shooter. He has a career mark of just 33.1% from 3-point range for his career, and in 48 games with the Nets this season, he made just 32.0% of his attempts from that distance.

Although the Lakers have shown some improvement from downtown lately, their outside shooting is still very iffy and inconsistent, and they still rank last in the NBA in 3-point attempts per game.

However, there is some reason to believe Dinwiddie can actually help in that category.

In what amounted to virtually a full season with the Dallas Mavericks (they acquired him two years ago just prior to the deadline and traded him to Brooklyn last February in the Kyrie Irving deal), he actually did a good job of hitting from long range.

With Dallas, Dinwiddie played more off the ball alongside Luka Doncic. In L.A., he will have to produce without the ball now that he will have LeBron James, D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves by his side.

He has done quite well in recent seasons in catch-and-shoot situations and from the corners.

Dinwiddie will likely also get some minutes as a backup ball-handling guard, especially to help preserve James, so he will also have the ball in his hands at times.

He is also effective with the ball in his hands

Dinwiddie has been criticized for questionable or even poor shot selection off the dribble, and he isn’t a good 3-point shooter off the dribble either.

However, he does have some strengths when he’s the main ball-handler.

While he’s not the best finisher at the rim, he’s pretty good in isolation situations.

He isn’t quite the penetrator he used to be, but he’s still as much of a threat to slash to the hoop off the dribble as any other guard on the Lakers.

Dinwiddie has a robust career free throw attempt rate of 37.1%, which means he gets to the charity stripe, especially when penetrating.

Dinwiddie also has a history of posting a strong assist-to-turnover ratio. For his career, he has averages of 5.3 assists and just 1.7 turnovers a game. So far this season, he’s at just 1.3 takeaways a game.

He appears to have the ability to be a solid defender

In addition to 3-point shooting, arguably L.A.’s biggest weakness right now is perimeter defense. Russell and Reaves, at best, are mediocre defenders, and Reaves, in particular, gets abused by players who are bigger than him.

Dinwiddie may be called upon to guard wings as a member of the Lakers, and he may be able to be effective in that role.

He has been effective in contesting outside shots, which should help L.A., a team that is 21st in opponents’ 3-point accuracy and 27th in opponents’ 3-point attempts per game.

No one should expect Dinwiddie to be a bona fide defensive stopper. But if he’s engaged and used correctly, he could help his new team on that end of the floor at least a little.

He has previously played with four current Lakers players

During the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons, Dinwiddie played alongside Russell in Brooklyn, and the two should have solid chemistry together.

In 53 games with the Mavs last season, Dinwiddie also got to play with Christian Wood, and early in the 2021-22 campaign, he played some games with Rui Hachimura as a member of the Washington Wizards.

Prior to that, he played a season and change with Taurean Prince as well while still with the Nets.

He is a big fan of the late Kobe Bryant

On Thursday, the Lakers unveiled a statue dedicated to Bryant’s memory, and perhaps it’s only fitting that their newest addition was a big fan of the Black Mamba.

Dinwiddie grew up in the Southland (he attended William Howard Taft Charter High School in the San Fernando Valley), and Bryant meant a lot to him.

The day Bryant died in a tragic helicopter crash, Dinwiddie got emotional when he talked about the time the Lakers legend praised his play.

Perhaps playing for Bryant’s former team will bring the best out of Dinwiddie.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire