Dewayne Dedmon is living his best life in an Atlanta Hawks uniform. The veteran center is currently on the best run of his career with the Hawks after signing a one-year contract with a player option in the summer of 2017.
Dedmon is enjoying as much playing time as he could ask for and is showing out in the process. Since coming to Atlanta, he has posted an average of 24.5 minutes per game and has largely been one of the Hawks best players over that stretch.
While that may not seem like too much of an accomplishment with the state of the Hawks over the last two seasons, Dedmon is doing special things that would translate to any team in the league. The seven-footer out of USC is averaging more than four points above his career average (5.8), nearly two more rebounds per game than his career average of 5.8, and, most impressively, is shooting at a 35 percent clip from beyond the three-point arc in an Atlanta uniform.
In his most recent display of impressive play (before the veteran big man missed Saturday’s game with knee soreness), Dedmon posted an 18-point, 15-rebound effort against a solid defensive team in the Indiana Pacers. The 15 rebounds were a season high, and Dedmon made it look rather easy while getting there.
So what has changed since Dedmon came to Atlanta two summers ago? For starters, he knows his role now and plays it well. More specifically, Dedmon understands that in order to get the most out of himself and his teammates he needs to position himself effectively and move without the ball better. Playing alongside John Collins seems to have really helped Dedmon understand how to use his body to create space, whether that means setting screens and rolling with hands extended or using his long arms to catch balls above the rim while in the post.
Dedmon is also much more confident in his shot these days. Fans of the Hawks can likely thank former head coach Mike Budenholzer, at least to some extent, for this one, as it was no secret the current Bucks head coach wanted Dedmon shooting three pointers from the start (as he did with everyone). However, Dedmon really has to be commended for his selection of three pointers.
As is the case with most big men, taking shots from beyond the arc can become addictive and players can become complacent which makes a defender’s job much easier. Dedmon on the other hand knows that his best shooting percentage comes out of the corners when shooting the long ball so naturally that is where he takes the vast majority of his threes. Very seldom will you ever seen Dedmon take top of the key three pointers or any shot beyond 26 feet.
Dedmon has also improved his defense, which was his calling card initially when coming to Atlanta. Per normal for most players as they age, Dedmon has learned to become a bit wiser on the angles he takes while defending and choosing his battles better. Dedmon is wracking up steals and blocks at the best rate of his career as well as the Hawks perimeter defense continues to improve forcing more opposing players into the paint where Dedmon awaits.
The one knock you might have on Dedmon is his fouling issues which is simply something that will always be there for him. His wingspan and long legs are a blessing and a curse, as on occasion his arms and legs can get tangled up with opposing players. One piece of foul luck that is changing for Dedmon this season is his newfound ability to draw charges as he is one away from tying his career high in just 27 games played.
Overall, Dedmon is an extremely solid player who would be a major help to any team contending right now. As such, the Hawks should be very motivated to sell on Dedmon at or near the trade deadline, which is approaching quicker than you might think. It makes too much sense for both sides as Dedmon deserves a chance to play for a good team while still in his prime and for the Hawks who should be able to get a fairly decent prize for the big man.
We will see how things shake out over the next couple of weeks, but Dedmon has for sure increased his value and resurrected his career in Atlanta. Stay tuned.