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Atlanta Hawks 2017-2018 player preview: Dewayne Dedmon

Dedmon is set to make an immediate impact in the paint.

NBA: Utah Jazz at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks signed free agent big man Dewayne Dedmon away from the Spurs in July hoping to strengthen their ability to protect the rim after trading away former Hawks big man Dwight Howard.

After playing in 76 games (37 starts) for the San Antonio Spurs in 2016, Dedmon had posted career high numbers in points, minutes and rebounds. He led the Spurs in blocks and rebounds 21 times over the course of the season and shot decently from the free throw line at 70%.

Dewayne can shoot some a round the basket but knows his role well so I wouldn’t expect him to be jacking up a bunch of threes if any. Dedmon should feel right at home in Atlanta’s system built by former Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer as Coach Bud employs a lot of the same defensive schemes as coach Gregg Popovich and the Spurs do.

At 28 years old, Dedmon still can develop a little bit more, but he is mostly a finished player and a good one for the price. While it is quite obvious the Hawks will most likely not make the playoffs in 2017-18, Dedmon’s presence around young guys like John Collins and Mike Muscala is invaluable. Dedmon has a high energy on defense and is opportunistic on offense, running the floor at every chance he can.

Dedmon seems to be the starting center barring some kind of change in philosophy from Mike Budenholzer and if he can play like he did with the Spurs he will definitely post career highs in most every department. Mike Muscala looks to be the backup to Dedmon and it seems as though the two of them can be a much better fit than Dwight Howard was a year ago.

Dewayne is also a player to keep an eye on for mid-season trades. If he posts numbers that can help a playoff team, expect the Hawks to be hunting draft picks and young talent in general as they begin their “retooling” or rebuild, whichever you fancy. Dedmon is not strictly a system player either, as his defense is legitimate and his athleticism is valuable on any team.

I give Travis Schlenk and the Hawks an A+ for picking up a good defender in Dedmon on a 2-year deal for only $14 million, even if the second year is a player option. Personally, I think Dedmon will be a hot commodity at the trade deadline and could bring Atlanta a pretty penny unless the Hawks are miraculously in the playoff hunt. Atlanta’s depth chart at center looks to be Dedmon, Muscala and Plumlee in that order and it would be a surprise if that flipped unless circumstances changed.