When it was announced that the Pistons were going to make Spencer Dinwiddie their only pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, some eyebrows and questions may have been raised. Dinwiddie's not just a different name; Dinwiddie's recovering from anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery on his left knee, which took place just over five months ago.
So, um, what's the story with that? Why did the Pistons take him then?
Four days before Dinwiddie tore his ACL, he was ranked the top junior in NCAA and projected to be a first round pick by DraftExpress. He's a versatile combo guard who can knock down threes and gets to the line at an incredible rate. So, assuming the Pistons got the answers they were looking for on Dinwiddie's recovery, it's not crazy that the team in need of Dinwiddie's strengths chose to snag the first round talent in the second round. Remember DeJuan Blair, who the Pistons passed up at 35th overall five years ago for Wrong DaJuan and ultimately went to the super-savvy Spurs? Blair has no ACLs and he was the right pick there.
GM Jeff Bower insists the team did their due diligence on Dinwiddie:
"We're very comfortable with the medical reports and the stages he's at in his recovery," Bower said. "Our medical team dug deep into it and we had all his records and where he's at and conversations with both his surgeon and his therapist. All were positive and gave us the comfort that this was a player that was very successful in his recovery."
At what stage is he in his recovery then?
Dinwiddie did not speak about it per the request of the team, but Keith Langlois confirmed suspicions that Dinwiddie will not play in summer league. While Langlois said the already-dunking Dinwiddie should be ready by camp, Stan Van Gundy's understandably non-committal.
Athletes recovering from ACL surgeries can take anywhere between 8-12 months to return to high-level competition, sometimes sooner (Kendrick Perkins) and sometimes later (Derrick Rose). In addition to regaining explosiveness in the leg, which Bower said Dinwiddie still needs to do, there's a mental aspect to rehab, too.
Dinwiddie's game doesn't revolve around him being an explosive athlete, but come camp, or whenever he returns to regular basketball activities, Dinwiddie's still going to have to adjust -- physically and mentally -- to a surgically repaired knee that may never reach previous performance levels and to the NBA game without any summer league experience.
I don't want to be a Debbie Downer on Dinwiddie's rise, but I don't expect him getting any significant minutes before 2015. A lot can happen in four months, though, so we'll find out more as we get closer to October. DBB will obviously keep a close eye on it.
Now your thoughts.