This isn’t an indictment of HoopsHype. I usually genuinely enjoy their yearly list of top free agents, but they currently have Dewayne Dedmon ranked 14th among centers set to hit the market – behind players like JaVale McGee, Ed Davis, and Robin Lopez. That list would have you believe that bringing back Dedmon on a one or two-year deal should not be that difficult. The Hawks center has stated he’s interested in returning, and Shams reported earlier this offseason Atlanta would like to have him back. Should be an open and closed case, right? If only it were that simple.
HoopsHype must not have watched an Atlanta Hawks game the entire season, but NBA general managers know better. Dedmon should be among the most talked about center prospects on the market, and according to Zach Lowe of ESPN, he’s receiving interest like one. On his podcast this past weekend, Lowe called Dedmon “sneakily the most coveted under-the-radar free agent in the league.”
The reasoning here is simple: Dedmon is the ideal fit for today’s NBA. The center position has been split into two different sectors. The first is straight up rim protectors. Seven-footers like Rudy Gobert, JaVale McGee, Clint Capela – who do nothing but block shots, grab boards and catch alley-oops. The second group is made up of hybrid power forwards that play the five. They might not be as effective defensively, but can space the floor on offense and have a much more extensive skill set. Very few can do both; Dewayne Dedom is one of those few.
Since coming to Atlanta, Dedmon has turned into a borderline sniper from three-point range. He shot 35.5% two years ago and upped that number to 38.2% on 3.3 attempts per game this past season. That was not a part of his repertoire when he was with the Spurs. Dedmon didn’t shoot threes and was known for his stout defense in the paint and rebounding. Those traits haven’t faded, which is why he deserves to be a hot commodity on the free agent market.
That doesn’t mean the Hawks will not hold onto him. They should have around $10-$15 million in cap space after acquiring Allen Crabbe and Solomon Hill, and center might be their most pressing positional need. A one-year balloon contract, paying him somewhere around $12 million could convince him to spend another season in Atlanta. However, the Hawks may want to give their new rookie center Bruno Fernando minutes and not worry about him being blocked by two veterans.