It was reported by the Athletic on Tuesday afternoon that the Miami Heat were planning to sign Dewayne Dedmon. The Heat were going to have to sign somebody by Thursday anyway, but a possible back-up big to give Erik Spoelstra some options during the regular season doesn’t seem like the worst choice.
So, let’s take a deep dive into what Dedmon can possibly give Miami off the bench this season…
– A Defensive Relief Big
When talking about the Miami Heat’s defense, the one area that truly sticks out in their personnel is the drop-off with the bench. The numbers clearly plummet when Bam Adebayo exits the floor, but it doesn’t help that Goran Dragic, Tyler Herro, and Nemanja Bjelica are entering together.
So, this is why Dewayne Dedmon can impact some things off the bench for Miami. It’s always discussed that giving Erik Spoelstra options is the most important thing, and allowing him to pick and choose nights to use Bjelica or Dedmon, instead of settling for Precious Achiuwa who he doesn’t seem to trust, may be a huge positive for this team.
On this play, we see Dedmon’s ability to contain a guard in transition, as well as showcase his length to be able to protect the rim. Those attributes are important for a relief big, especially when comparing him to Achiuwa at this stage, since he’s been quite undersized against many bigs.
When Miami looks at certain guys as defensive players, it’s usually about the defensive IQ more than anything. Although Dedmon has a lot of the attributes that make up a good defensive big, he’s very good at finding the right spots on the floor to fill in, even when playing drop coverage on a lot of his past teams.
On this possession, as soon as he sees the ball-handler get a full head of steam, he steps up right into position to take the charge, which are the type of plays that stand out to a Heat organization. If he’s capable of making these plays at this stage of his career coming off an injury, then he can make a big impact during the regular season, which will continually be the point that is harped on.
Here’s another quick example of his ability to contain and block shots. He showed his athletic ability to immediately rise up and swat it, but this once again refers back to his health at the current stage. It’s not really confirmed that he will be as explosive on that end of the floor, but having a track record in that department is a good start.
Another element to this is that they’re adding another one of these experienced players, since although they have some youth mixed in, the way the roster is being built seems to point toward a team looking to make yet another postseason push.
It’s not that Precious Achiuwa should be compared in every aspect, but it is important when balancing the differences in what each can bring. Achiuwa has been known to bring a bit of energy to the floor through his explosiveness, and Dedmon has done that in his career as well, just in a much different and experienced way.
These type of plays are the kind of tellers that showcase an experienced defender, since late game possessions are always important to note. On this play, he’s clearly capable of staying with the versatile Julius Randle, proving that his angles on attackers refers back to the overall defensive IQ.
– A Possible Floor Spacer
I’m not going to dive into the shooting element too much, since the ups and downs have been apparent over his career. He’s had his impressive shooting stretches as he did with the Hawks, but has also had his down moments in other spots, while none of it has been linked to coverages. It just comes down to an inconsistent jumper.
The difference is that it’s widely known that percentages from beyond the arc always increase when joining the Heat, due to both coaching and the motion offense creating different opportunities. On this play, he hits an above the break three in transition, which is usually the shot that proves the capability of a deep threat. He’s also pretty efficient in the pick and pop, which could be quite the balance from Adebayo’s usual quick dives to the rim or mid-range pauses.
– An Interior Presence on the Roll
Now, although many like to immediately look to shooting numbers and abilities when acquiring players like this, that is not the area that I feel he can be the most effective. It’s actually his ability to dive to the rim with his long strides and lengthy wingspan to convert easy opportunities.
On this possession, it’s just a normal PnR against drop coverage, as Dedmon gets an easy bucket due to the quick roll and high spotting of Mitchell Robinson. Miami has a lot of drop coverage beaters, due to Butler’s intriguing offensive aggression moving downhill or Tyler Herro’s quick mid-range pull-up, which is the reason for Dedmon’s possible fit in the offense.
Here’s another example of his play against drop coverage, except this one is a bit more recent.
It shows more of that experienced presence, and an ability to get to the spots on the floor that he feels most comfortable. A floater in a dead spot is one of those things, and could become useful for a reserve tandem with Goran Dragic, since he has always been pretty good at finding the roller in their spots like this. And once again, if he still has the same athletic ability, it’ll make that off the bench duo even more dynamic.
When I say an athletic ability, this is what I mean, since he has a past of playing above the rim at times due to his length. He reads the play as his defender drops to cut-off the ball-handler, leading to another dive and dunk.
It’s not certain that he will get any significant minutes as a back-up big with this team, but it’s a trusted option if Miami struggles on the defensive end of the floor like they did against Memphis, or possibly when shooters aren’t knocking down shots, so Dedmon has a chance at giving them that spark. That exact evaluation won’t be able to be predicted until he actually sees the floor with this team upon joining them.
– An Energetic Rebounder
The last part of this is the rebounding addition. The Heat have had their moments this season where they just couldn’t grab a rebound, which would lead to opposing teams having much more shot attempts in the final box score.
Undersized big men, like Achiuwa, and non explosive rebounders, like Kelly Olynyk, will lead to that result. And well, this is yet another thing that Dedmon can bring to this team at his peak and fully healthy moments. On this play, we see a player who isn’t afraid to battle down low, and at times Miami has missed that interior presence.
So, even though a lot of the breakdowns in this article are truly hard to have any real takeaways due to the time gap, it’s by far the best option on the market as a low risk guy due to them needing to fill that roster spot anyway.