Thunder Draft Preview (Spencer Dinwiddie)

By Randy Renner

The Thunder have both the 21st and the 29th picks in the first round Thursday night and no picks in the second round. 

However, the Thunder have brought in (and continue to bring in)several guys who most mock drafts have going in the second round and guys who most believe will end up as undrafted free agents. So clearly the Thunder are keeping their options open sould they end up trading out of the first round, or at least moving one of their first round picks and end up getting into the second.

Remember second round picks are not given guaranteed contracts. The Thunder are also looking to fill out their Summer League roster and their training camp roster so that’s another reason for bringing in guys who may not have much likelihood of being drafted.

Today we’re taking a look at another player who might be available to the Thunder either late in the first round or in the second should the Thunder decide to slide back and some believe this guy is being undervalued by draftniks.

SPENCER DINWIDDIE (Shooting Guard, Colorado)

Going into this past college basketball season Spencer Dinwiddie was regarded as the second best NBA prospect regardless of position in the Pac-12 and through Colorado’s non-conference season that hype was justified. Then just five games into the Pac-12 portion of the Buffs schedule Dinwiddie went down with a torn ACL.

With teams wondering how well he will recover his draft stock went from sure first round pick to now likely somewhere in the second round. But if Dinwiddie recovers well then he could be a steal for whoever rolls the dice.

And remember Colorado’s non-con was pretty stout playing the likes of Kansas, Oklahoma State, Baylor and Harvard, plus an early season Pac-12 game against Oregon. In the 17 games Dinwiddie played he averaged 18.6 points per 40 minutes and 4.6 assists. He shot 46.6 percent overall and a nifty 41.3 percent from deep. He got the free throw line an average of seven times a game and hit 85.7 percent of his attempts from the stripe.

At 6-6, 205, Dinwiddie is about the right size for a shooting guard in today’s NBA  but looks to also have the ability to play the point some and also small forward. That versatility fits in especially good with the Thunder because they covet players who can at least defend multiple positions so they can switch up defensive assignments.

The two areas where Dinwiddie appeared to have improved the most over the last couple of season is in transition and as a perimeter shooter. Last season, according to advanced stats from Synergy Sports Technologies, he made 53.3 percent of his shots in transition and 56 percent of his attempts around the basket. On film he appears to have excellent body control and fine footwork.

He can create his own shot and he can hit it too.

However, he does have some issues. When you watch the film it seems like he dribbles and awful lot and isn’t the best of passers (maybe that’s why he dribbles so much). He also tended to make a few too many bad decisions. But a lot of those problems came when he was running the point and in the NBA he would probably spend most of his time at shooting guard. And he did make a ton of improvement in his offensive game between his sophomore and junior seasons and then again on to his senior year so his improvement likely would continue.

On the defensive end things may be a bit more uncertain. He appears to have all the physical tools but he doesn’t seem to have the proper attitude about defending. He tends to lose focus and struggles to get through screens and he’ll see a lot of those in the NBA.

Next to his knee, his defense is probably the biggest question. If teams got the right answers when they worked him out and interviewed him before the draft there should be several willing to take the risk for the potential reward Dinwiddie could offer.