Atlanta Hawks Player Profile: Dewayne Dedmon a Perimeter Threat?

Dewayne Dedmon #14 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Dewayne Dedmon #14 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) /

With the 2018-19 season looming, let’s take a look at what next year might look like for second-year Atlanta Hawks center Dewayne Dedmon.

Among the bright spots of last year’s Atlanta Hawks squad was the emergence of Dewayne Dedmon as one of the Hawks’ most consistent contributors. The former USC Trojan has continued to develop and reinvent himself, and last year he took another big step forward. The newest evolution? A feathery three-point stroke.

After attempting just one shot behind the arc through his four NBA seasons, Dedmon came out in 2017-2018 and inexplicably attempted 141. Even more sensationally, he actually made 51 of them!

Watch how far the Pistons defenders sag off of Dedmon–they’re basically daring him to shoot.

They throw up a hand at the last second like that dude from the YMCA does when he’s played a few too many pick-up games in a row. They realize too late that they’re guarding the newest edition of the former Spurs big man, not the 2016 version.

It’s not the prettiest stroke, but on this night against Detroit, Dewayne would finish 6 of 7 from the field, including two threes and two long two-pointers.

But perhaps more importantly than the stroke itself is the threat of it.

light. Related Story. How Long will Dedmon Stay with the Hawks?

Lloyd Pierce and the 2018-19 Hawks are looking to spread opponents out. Spacing, spacing, spacing. Alex Len is a serviceable center, but he’s not a perfect puzzle-piece fit for the scheme they’re trying to emulate (despite hitting a few threes so far in the preseason) — that of the reigning champs’ “Death Lineup”.

Perhaps Dedmon isn’t either, but after last year, opponents will at least have to respect the possibility that he’s got range.

Before, when opposing big men could roam the paint and protect the rim without worrying about how far out Dewayne was, now they at least have to be aware of where he is, and could possibly be unwillingly drawn out to the perimeter. That means open driving lanes for Taurean Prince and Trae Young.

Open driving lanes mean good basketball things.

When no one’s home, quick guards who can finish at the rim feast.

Today’s NBA is littered with behemoths that can drain it with the best of them. Dedmon isn’t the next superstar unicorn in the same mold as Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, and Kristaps Porzingis–it’s unfair to even include him in the same conversation since he turned 29 this offseason.

However, in his last season with the Atlanta Hawks before he hits unrestricted free agency (ignoring the likelihood that he’s traded before February), Dedmon will need to build his stock for the next contract through continued evolution of his outside shot.

Building off his 35.5% clip of a season ago, Dedmon will aim to become more efficent — he’ll have to make more out of fewer shot attempts as young players like Kevin Huerter, John Collins, Young and Prince gobble up usage.

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When the stretchy big man returns from an avulsion fracture sustained during the offseason, he’ll have to prove he’s still worthy of a starting spot. But until then, both Dedmon and his newfound deep touch will be relegated to cheering on teammates from the sidelines.