Atlanta Hawks players that will contend for awards in 2018

TARRYTOWN, NY - AUGUST 11: John Collins
TARRYTOWN, NY - AUGUST 11: John Collins /
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Dewayne Dedmon: Most Improved Player and All-Defense Selection

OAKLAND, CA – MAY 16: Dewayne Dedmon
OAKLAND, CA – MAY 16: Dewayne Dedmon /

After signing with the Atlanta Hawks in July, Dewayne Dedmon is expected to be the starting center for the young ball club. Earning recognition in San Antonio, he is coming off of the best season of his career.

Per 36 minutes, he averaged 10.5 points per game with 13.4 rebounds per game, along with nearly 2 blocks per game. Since the departure of Al Horford, Mike Budenholzer has moved towards having a more traditional center in the starting lineup, grabbing boards, protecting the paint, and cleaning up misses. As long as he sticks to the plane, Dedmon is poised to thrive in Atlanta.

Standing at 7’0″ and weighing 245 lbs, Dedmon has the potential to be a dominant force down low. His above-average athleticism allows him to get into rebounding position quicker than most of his match-ups, and his superior strength and weight allows him to maintain his position and grab the board with ease.

While he does not yet have much of a post-up game, he can certainly take care of business if he gets the ball in good position on the low block. Like Dwight Howard, most of his points will come off of lobs and putbacks. He is definitely going to be fun to watch.

Out of everyone on the current roster, watch for Dedmon to emerge as one of the players who see the most playing time. Unless Budenholzer is seeking a pure three-point shooting lineup where all five men can make a three, there is no reason to leave Dedmon off of the court.

While there is room to improve at the line (career 67% FT shooter), he certainly is not the complete liability at the charity stripe that Dwight Howard was. He can run the floor with a fast lineup, play bully ball with a big lineup, and be the anchor of the defensive lineup.

Under Bundenholzer’s coaching, it is not out of reach for Dedmon to have a breakout season and emerge as one of the premier defensive centers in the Eastern Conference, maybe even the NBA.

Predicted Statistics: 11.1 ppg, 12.9 rpg, 2.3 bpg          54%/25%/71%