Spencer Dinwiddie admits he was confused during his Wizards tenure: ‘Deni was supposed to be like the 2nd coming of Luka’

Jonathan Sherman
3 Min Read
Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

When the Washington Wizards selected Deni Avdija with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, there were some who believed he would ultimately become the next great international NBA star.

Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie — who was part of the Wizards organization during Avdija’s sophomore season — seemed to think that was the case.

That was just small part of a greater issue that Dinwiddie recognized during his time with team. During a recent conversation with Taylor Rooks, Dinwiddie broke down all of the coinciding and conflicting goals that he recognized within the Wizards roster that year.

“Trying to figure out an identity, right? Going in several different directions,” he said of the Wizards organization at the time. “We had Rui [Hachimura] coming back from what he was struggling with. Deni was supposed to be like the second coming of Luka [Doncic]. You got Brad (Bradley Beal), who’s obviously the max guy. You got the [Los Angeles] Lakers guys coming over who want to establish themselves independently of LeBron [James]. … It was a situation where, I was just saying like, ‘What are we doing?'”

It is definitely an interesting insight into what can go wrong on an NBA team. No matter how talented a team may be, it likely isn’t going to achieve much unless everyone on the roster is working as a collective towards a unified goal.

When everyone is playing for their own motivations, things tend to go awry. That was definitely the case for the Wizards in the 2021-22 season. They finished the campaign with a 35-47 record, good for the No. 12 seed in the Western Conference.

Dinwiddie didn’t spend a lot of time in Washington after all. He was traded to the Dallas Mavericks in a deal right before the trade deadline that same season. He played with the Mavs until earlier this season, when he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in the move that sent Kyrie Irving to Dallas.

As for Avdija, he still seems to be working his way up to reach his full potential. The 6-foot-9 forward is averaging 8.6 points, 6.3 boards and 2.5 assists per game.

While his numbers aren’t that impressive, it is worth noting that he is still just 22 years of age. There is still reason to believe that he’ll be able to take another leap forward in the next few seasons.

With that in mind, it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll end up fulfilling that prophecy that Dinwiddie hinged him to.

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Jonathan has worked as a sports writer covering NBA and NFL news since 2017. He's a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Vikings.