Auburn Hills — Nobody in the Pistons dressing room calls Spencer Dinwiddie by his first name.
They might call him Dim-Widdie or Dim Daddy. But no one calls him Spencer.
“I don’t think I’ve been called Spencer in months,” the rookie said.
They do call him a player.
Dinwiddie made his exhibition debut Thursday, finishing with eight points and six assists during a 109-103 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. The 6-foot-6 point guard, the Pistons’ second-round pick, was recovering from an ACL injury sustained during his final season at Colorado.
“It’s just basketball,” he said. “Whether it is high school or college or the league, they are trying to beat you and kill you when they are on the opposite team. You have to accept that when you step on the floor. I don’t expect them to give me anything especially since I am a rookie and coming off an injury. They probably saw me as a wounded dog and saw blood in the water.”
Veteran guard Caron Butler was quiet in his praise of the rookie. He said he likes Dinwiddie and has been surprised by his progress and poise during training camp.
“With Spencer he can really do it all,” Butler said. “He can shoot. He is clever. Now I don’t want his head to blow up but he can really play the game of basketball.”
The big test Thursday came in the third quarter when 76ers guard Tony Wroton came from behind and knocked Dinwiddie down on a fast break. Teammates ran over to pick Dinwiddie up.
“I wish I had known he was behind me; I would have dunked,” Dinwiddie said. “I was backpeddling. ... I was a little bit tired.”
That’s the goal for the next couple of weeks: Getting in basketball shape as the Pistons begin their regular-season push.
Dinwiddie‘s been off nine months, and there is a big difference between practice and playing.
“I thought his first five minutes were really good,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. “I thought he got tired as the game went on and sort of flattened out and everything, didn’t attack. ... You could see some very promising things there.”