Spencer Dinwiddie has been around his Windy City Bulls teammates for a little more than two weeks and has already become affectionately known as “the NBA guy.”
Dinwiddie spent two seasons with the Detroit Pistons before he was traded to the Bulls last year. But after being waived last month, the 6-foot-6 guard landed with other NBA hopefuls in the league’s Development League. It’s a place where the former second-round draft pick finds himself surrounded by teammates anxious to get to where Dinwiddie has been – and where he would like to return.
“Obviously, that’s Plan A,” Dinwiddie said. “It was really tough for me getting cut by Chicago in the last couple of days of training camp, but it is what it is, it’s part of business and you’ve got to keep moving.”
Windy City opens its inaugural season on Friday night against the Long Island Nets at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates. Among his teammates, Dinwiddie is the most NBA seasoned while RJ Hunter – who the Bulls sent to Windy City this week – also joins the roster having had a taste of what the NBA is like.
Hunter, who was signed by the Bulls after being cut by the Boston Celtics, had not appeared in a regular-season game before being sent to Windy City. Forward J.J. Avila, guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and forward Thomas Walkup also were in training camp with the Bulls before being sent to Windy City.
As much as he longs to return to the NBA, Dinwiddie realizes he has a chance to help his younger teammates while he is still here. But Dinwiddie will use the chance not only to hone his skills and help Windy City win games in its first Development League season, but as an audition of sorts as he – like any Development League player – can be signed by an NBA team at any time.
“It’s pretty much either this or work out at home,” Dinwiddie said. “This is a much better option for me in my opinion.”
Dinwiddie and Hunter are part of Windy City’s 11-man roster that coach Nate Loenser believes can be competitive from the start. Because the Development League is so offensively-minded with players looking to showcase their talent, success often comes down to defense.
But Loenser also knows it is about managing the players he has, including Dinwiddie, whom he fostered a working relationship with with the Bulls’ Summer League team.
NBA experience aside, Dinwiddie will carry the same expectations as his other teammates.
“I’ve kind of come out and just told him, ‘I’m going to coach you hard, I’m going to teach you, I’m going to keep pushing you trying essentially not to treat you any differently than these other guys,’” Loenser said. “I know that he, just like everybody else on our team, this isn’t necessarily their ultimate goal.
“Obviously, there might be a natural look-up to him from those other guys, but over time, I told Spencer if I treat him any differently, then I’m cheating him because he and I both know that whether it’s tomorrow or whenever it may be, if he can ultimately get a call-up from any team, then I’ll be the happiest guy for him.”
Follow me on Twitter @JeffArnold_.