Dewayne Dedmon had a breakout season for the Atlanta Hawks in 2018. He transformed himself from role player to starting center and made the transition to shooting threes with ease. The biggest question for Atlanta’s fans this offseason will be whether the seven footer sticks around with a player option (for more than $7 million) looming in his contract.
At his exit interview, the big man made sure to note that he is keeping all options open.
“I have no predictions,” Dedmon said. “I’ll talk to my agent and figure out the best decision for me and my family to move forward. I love the city of Atlanta, I had fun this season. See what happens.”
Dedmon also seems very happy after being given the opportunity to prove himself in a larger role this season.
“I feel like it went good, felt like I showed a lot,” Dedmon told reporters. “It was definitely a good opportunity to come here. I told Bud, we had our meeting, I appreciate him having faith in me and allowing me to grow in a different role.”
Dedmon was a late summer addition by the Hawks and proved to be arguably the most valuable addition to date. His season average of 10 points per game (combined with improved play-making) showed that he is no longer just a defender but can also help teams on the offensive end. However, the biggest change for him on offense had to be the introduction of the three-point shot into his game as a legitimate floor spacer.
Before the 2017-18 season, Dedmon had attempted exactly one three pointer over the course of his four-year career and, well, he missed. His first season in Atlanta saw him take 141 shots from beyond the arc and then proceed to knock down 50 of them, which was good for a 36 percent clip. This addition of the three-point shot did not harm his career shooting percentages either, as the eFG% he posted in 2017-18 of 58 percent is right on with his career mark of 57 percent.
Dedmon also posted 90 assists total this season after owning just 76 over the first years of his career. While that isn’t life-changing, the development did show that he has the ability to make skip passes and facilitate from the baselines.
His rebounding numbers went up as well, with Dedmon averaging eight per game this season in just 25 minutes of action per game. His defensive numbers were as good as normal for him, averaging nearly a block per game (and 0.6 steals) while owning a defensive rating of 107, which is slightly inflated due to the time spent on the floor with his “less defensively inclined Hawk teammates.”
Dedmon knew before signing that this would be a down year for the Hawks but did not let that hold him back from using his increased role as a display of his skill-set.
“Losing basketball games is tough,” Dedmon said at exit interviews. “Nobody comes here and wants to lose. We came out every night, we tried to win, we played our hearts out. It’s definitely tough when it comes to that end but I feel there’s a lot of positives we can take from it, as far as the young talent and how everybody has grown and getting better and improving.”
Dedmon was also a mentor to some of the younger guys in the locker room and in particular was well liked by Taurean Prince and John Collins.
“What I saw from them: the future is bright. John Collins, his first year in the league, played great basketball. Taurean, the way he finished off the season was pretty good. It’s real bright, good things going on in Atlanta.”
Dedmon’s biggest downside in 2017-18 was the injury bug that first got him early on in the season as a stress fracture that sidelined him for a month. As a result, he was only able to play 62 games after playing in 76 for the Spurs last season. Despite playing in 14 less games this season, he nearly surpassed his career high VORP (value over replacement player) of 1.2 set last season.
Dedmon signed a two-year contract with the Hawks last offseason with 2018-19 being a player option for $6,300,000 plus incentives that push the contract above the $7 million mark, should he choose to opt in. It is unclear if he will decide to stay or try to cash out now.
At 28 years old, this could be Dedmon’s best singular chance to get a long-term contract of three or four years and no one would blame him for taking advantage of that. Either way, the Hawks surely hope he will stick around, as he’s a perfect fit for the type of system Atlanta currently has in place.
Surely we won’t have to wait long after the conclusion of the NBA Playoffs to find out Dedmon’s decision. Stay tuned.