Can Spencer Dinwiddie be a defensive stopper for the Lakers?

Spencer Dinwiddie, Los Angeles Lakers
Spencer Dinwiddie, Los Angeles Lakers / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

Spencer Dinwiddie has always been known for his ability to get buckets and make plays offensively. But in the Lakers' win over the Thunder earlier this week, he may have proven that the NBA world may have misjudged his defensive abilities.

When you play for the purple and gold, you are automatically guaranteed a stronger share of the spotlight. Against OKC, Dinwiddie maximized his opportunity to show the world that he is more than just a microwave scorer off the bench.

On the box score, the eye test would paint the evening as an off-one for the former Colorado Buffalo. In his 24 minutes of action, he scored a mere 2 points on 1-4 shooting from the field (0-2 from deep) to go with 3 assists, 2 rebounds, and 1 absolutely textbook block which punctuated a masterpiece of a defensive performance for Dinwiddie. Possession after possession, we saw him step up and take it upon himself to make things difficult for any Thunder player trying to get by him.

At 6'5", 215 pounds with a 6'8" wingspan, the 2nd newest Laker (welcome to the team Harry Giles) has the profile of a versatile defender. He has a 120.4 defensive rating this season. For perspective, the league average is approximately 116.5. So the numbers also support his case as a solid defender.

It has taken some time for the bonafide baller (career 13.5 points and 5.3 assists per game on shooting splits of 41.4% FG/33.1% 3/79.4% FT) to get things going offensively since joining the team (5.4 points and 3.3 assists per game on shooting splits of 37.3% FG/31.3% 3/66.7% FT), but this is a squad that does not need him to go crazy in the scoring column. With that in mind, it has been refreshing to see him find other ways to contribute to winning ball games.

Spencer Dinwiddie can add to a Lakers' strength

This is a team that is not short on solid wing defenders, with Jarred Vanderbilt, Cam Reddish, Max Christie and Taurean Prince standing out as Darvin Ham's top options to throw at the top perimeter scoring threats across the league.

If Dinwiddie can build off of his strong defensive showing against SGA and OKC, it would equip Ham with yet another quality option to throw at other SGA-type guys like Devin Booker, Anthony Edwards, Kawhi Leonard, and so on.

Is he actually a lockdown defender? That might be a stretch, but if he can continue providing the type of defensive efforts he did against the Thunder than the defensive-minded Darvin Ham will undoubtedly continue giving him ample playing time.

Next. Turned backs on. 17 people who turned their backs on the Lakers. dark