After the Hawks made the shocking decision to trade Former All-Star Dwight Howard to the Charlotte Hornets, the only question was who would be the Atlanta Hawks center in the future. An apparent rebuild was imminent after the Hawks allowed Paul Millsap to leave via Free-Agency to the Denver Nuggets without offering Millsap the opportunity to return to Atlanta.
Atlanta acquired Miles Plumlee in the Dwight Howard trade and it was evident he was not the answer after his sub-par career in the NBA. Considering the direction of the Hawks organization, a big splash in free-agency wasn’t in the plans. Boasting one of the league’s youngest rosters, the Hawks needed a reliable veteran in the Front Court with a favorable contract that could fit Coach Budenholzer’s scheme.
The Hawks signed veteran center Dewayne Dedmon, who played for the San Antonio Spurs. It wasn’t about the money with him, it was more about the opportunity to be the “guy”. Dedmon is expected to the full-time starter for the Hawks, which is an opportunity he couldn’t miss. Dedmon will have a major role to replace as a rim protector and solid rebounder in the paint after the loss of Dwight Howard. The Hawks are getting a younger player with a ton of upside and I fully expect Dedmon to make an impact on the young Hawks roster.
Dedmon agreed to a two-year, $14 million-dollar contract with the last year being a player-option. Dedmon is banking on posting a tremendous season in Atlanta; not just as a contributor on a young Hawks roster in the win column but to potentially earn a large contract in Free Agency for the 2018-19 season. The market for big men in the NBA will continue to thrive despite the league undergoing a transition to “small ball” offensive minded teams.
Last season in San Antonio, Dedmon started about 40 games and provided the Spurs with young depth in the Front Court. When LaMarcus Aldridge or Paul Gasol weren’t on the floor, production in the Front Court never declined due to his efforts. He ended the 2016-17 season as the second leading rebounder on the Spurs, quite an accomplishment, I would say! He would also set career highs in minutes, points at (5.6) Points Per Game, Rebounds (7.6) Per Game and Blocks (1.0) Per Game respectively.
Dedmon won’t provide much on offense, but on defense, you will see maximum effort, which is a boost to a Hawks team that was one of the best defensive units last year. When Dedmon was on the court in San Antonio the team recorded a (97.5) defensive rating compared to the (102.7) mark when he was on the bench.
If Dedmon can stay healthy and contribute at a high level, expect the Hawks or a contender to offer him a sizeable contract next off-season or the Hawks could use Dedmon as a great investment for an organization looking to build a young Eastern Conference contender. Hawks fans will be happy with the style and game Dedmon contributes and should be impressed with his impact as the primary starting Center.
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