Through his 11 games so far with the Washington Wizards, there has been a pattern to Spencer Dinwiddie's best scoring nights. His top two games - 34 points against the Hawks on Oct. 22 and 23 points against the Magic on Saturday night - have come when star shooting guard Bradley Beal hasn't been available.
Beal was out against Orlando to grieve the loss of his grandmother, so Dinwiddie stepped up for a second time to help lead the Wizards to victory with his scoring. The Wizards are now 2-0 when Beal is out, compared to 2-10 when he was missing last year, and Dinwiddie's production has been a big reason why.
It's not simply a matter of playing harder because a star player is absent. Dinwiddie broke down the team's offensive balance in detal to explain why on other nights he sacrifices his own looks to put the team first.
"I feel like I can get a shot at any time. That's not a question. It's also just about the psychology of our team. This is a more complicated game than just like who shoots when and all that other stuff. If I come out there and let's say me and Brad both shoot 20 times a game, 40 shots in a game, and we only shoot 85 as a team. That's only  more in that game. Now, is [Kyle Kuzma] mad, is [Kentavious Caldwell-Pope] mad?"
He continued: "There's just not that many [shots] left. Somebody's gonna have to fall on the sword a little bit and understand that for everybody to get their 10, it means that he can't have 20. It's not gonna be Brad, so I'm the next option."
Dinwiddie said his approach when Beal is in the lineup is to be more of a table-setter. He knows it's important to get Beal his shots early in a game so he can catch a rhythm. The same applies to a lesser degree to players like Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell.
Dinwiddie's general approach is to wait until the fourth quarter to become more aggressive. That's when he is more prone to attack off the pick-and-roll, which allows him to get downhill and attack the rim. Dinwiddie leads the Wizards in fourth-quarter scoring this season (5.5 pts/g).
"When Brad's out, I'm pushing the go button a little earlier, a little bit more often," Dinwiddie said.
In addition to his 23 points against the Magic, Dinwiddie also had a career-high 11 rebounds, plus six assists and a block. The rebounds continued a trend for him this season, as he is currently averaging a career-best 5.6 boards per game.
Dinwiddie said in recent games he's been able to crash the glass while defending off-ball shooters. When a teammate like Caldwell-Pope has the primary ball-handler and Dinwiddie's man is in the corner, he is in prime position to crash the glass off of a miss.
But just like the shots breakdown, Dinwiddie described his rebounding surge as a matter of him filling in where the team needs him to. When he played for the Pistons, Andre Drummond grabbed an outsized number of their rebounds. The same went for DeAndre Jordan and Jarrett Allen in Brooklyn.
Dinwiddie considers himself versatile enough to provide whatever his team needs most on a given night. Usually, it's as a facilitator and defender. When Beal's out, those priorities change.