It was only a matter of time before one of Detroit’s three reserve point guards ended up with the short end of the stick.
In this case, it’s Spencer Dinwiddie.
Following the late December return of Brandon Jennings, the Pistons saw their point guard depth chart balloon to four. Now, after sending Dinwiddie to the Grand Rapids Drive for this past weekend’s D-League showcase, it appears as though he could be sticking around West Michigan for the foreseeable future.
“We’re going to leave Spencer with Grand Rapids for a while,” Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy said following Monday’s practice. “I don’t know how long, but quite a while. As a fourth point guard it’s just, you know, you’re not putting him into even blowouts. You’re not really getting him a lot of practice time because of the other three guys. He just wasn’t going to be able to get enough work.”
The Pistons have slowly increased their reliance upon their D-League affiliate since arriving in Grand Rapids in 2014. This season alone, Dinwiddie has been joined by NBA teammates Reggie Bullock, Darrun Hilliard, and Brandon Jennings at various stints.
In lieu of keeping Dinwiddie in Detroit, where he recently hadn’t even been dressing as an active player, Van Gundy hopes Dinwidie can benefit from the kind of extended playing time he experienced this past weekend, when he racked up 19 points, four rebounds, five assists, and five steals against the Oklahoma City Blue on Friday before following that up with 12 points and seven assists in a win over the Los Angeles Defenders on Sunday.
“I want him to get to where he can go out and play consistently,” Van Gundy said. “So we’re going to leave him with Grand Rapids and let him get, you know, 30-plus minutes every night and see what he can do in a situation where he’s playing every day and he’s getting good practices in and everything else.”
While Dinwiddie has shown glimpses of establishing himself as an NBA point guard during his two years with Detroit, Van Gundy hopes Dinwiddie’s D-League stint will allow him to shore up some perceived weaknesses.
“We know he can make plays,” Van Gundy said. “Now we just want to see if he can pick up the pace a little bit, push the ball a little bit harder, defend a little bit better and see if can he make he make shots on a consistent level. So it’ll be good to watch him.”