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Hawks player preview: Dewayne Dedmon


The Hawks are set to begin training camp on Sept. 26. I'm previewing one player each day leading up to camp (in alphabetical order).

Dewayne Dedmon    

Position: C

Height/Weight: 7-0, 245

Age: 28 (8/12/89)

2017-18 salary: $6 million

CARMELO projected value: $9.1 million

How acquired: 2017 free agent (Spurs)

OFFENSE

Dedmon is one of the most efficient bigs in the league on the pick-and-roll. His 1.15 points per possession on that play type ranked 17th among players with 95 or more possessions during the 2016-17 season (just behind Dwight Howard’s 1.18 PPP on 98 possessions as the roll man).

Dewayne Dedmon play type: Pick-and-roll, roll man

Dedmon is a strong finisher at the rim. Of his 161 field goals last season, 131 (82 percent) were dunks or layups. He h ad 68 dunks and layups among 99 made field goals with the Magic in 2015-16.

Dedmon hasn’t shown much scoring ability away from the basket and really hasn’t tried. He was 9-for-27 on shot attempts outside the paint in 2015-16, 8-for-21 last season and 2-for-6 in 2014-15. Nor has Dedmon been a scoring option in the post: just 13 possessions of that play type in 2016-17 (0.46 PPP) and 15 in 2015-16 (1.07 PPP).

As you would expect because of his finishing ability, Dedmon has been very efficient in transition with 1.24 PPP on 25 possessions in 2016-17 and 1.55 PPP on 20 possessions two seasons ago. The Spurs typically rank near the bottom of the league in the frequency of transition possessions used. The Hawks stopped running as much last season but Dedmon can help if they get our on the break more often.

DEFENSE

Dedmon is a very good rebounder and rim protector. Among players with at least 800 minutes played in 2016-17, Dedmon ranked seventh in defensive rebounding percentage and 25th in block percentage.

According to NBA.com player tracking stats, Dedmon allowed 0.81 points per possession on 79 post-ups (tied for 18th best among defenders with at last 75 possessions) and 0.81 PPP on 31 possessions guarding roll men (tied for 21st-best among defenders with at least 30 possessions).

Dedmon also rates well in the advanced metrics. ESPN’s Defensive Real Plus-Minus rated Dedmon 29th among centers in 2015-16 and second-best in 2016-17. FiveThirtyEight.com’s CARMELO defensive metric, a combination of RPM and box score stats averaged over three seasons, says Dedmon is as an excellent defender.

OUTLOOK

Dedmon played a career-high 1,330 minutes for the Spurs last season and established himself as a rotation big on a good team. He's valuable for his ability to score on the pick-and-roll, defend it, block shots and rebound.

Dedmon will absorb many of the 2,199 minutes played by Howard as Hawks center in 2015-16. He plausibly could be a comparable replacement. Howard was more of a post threat (though inefficient in his one season with the Hawks) but, at this point, Dedmon is his equal as a roll man. The Hawks can play faster with Dedmon at center and his defensive impact should be similar.

Dedmon’s decision to decline the $3 million option on his Spurs contract was a good one. He'll likely get a chance to play more minutes and prove he can remain an efficient offensive player with higher usage. With another strong season, Dedmon is likely to opt out of the $6.3 million in his contract for 2017-18 and hit free agency.

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About the Author

Michael Cunningham has covered the Hawks and other beats for the AJC since 2010. He is the author of the AJC’s Mike Check blog.