Since filling in for the injured Pau Gasol, Dewayne Dedmon has proven himself as one of the league’s elite rim protectors and has solidified himself as one of the Spurs most important assets.
The 7-footer has adapted to the Spurs’ systematic passing and screening in his 49 games played and has brought an element of athleticism that’s been lacking in the Spurs front court since The Admiral, David Robinson. He has stepped in and taken the role of rim protector, which has been void since Tim Duncan’s retirement this past offseason.
The presence of a hyper-athletic center has revamped the way opponents must defend San Antonio.
— Paul Garcia (@PaulGarciaNBA) February 13, 2017
He’s brought the alley-oop back to the AT&T Center and has provided some of the seasons most memorable highlights. Dewayne Dedmon is making a strong case for himself to become the Spurs’ starting center of the future.
The stats all point towards Dedmon’s defensive dominance.
Per 36 minutes, Dedmon averages a stellar 13.6 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.7 blocks. This is a true testament to his most important trait: defensive versatility.
Through 50 games, Dedmon’s defensive rating is among the best at the center position with 95.1. This ranks him higher than the likes of Hassan Whiteside, Rudy Gobert and Marc Gasol.
Dedmon also has the best defensive rating of any player through ten or more starts with 36.1 percent. This means that through his 11 starts this year, Dedmon has limited players to a lower field goal percentage than anyone else in the league.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking: That does include Kawhi Leonard.
On top of his great defensive stats, he has shot a fantastic percentage thus far.
At the All-Star Break, he’s taken 178 shots and has converted on 62.4 percent of his attempts. His ability to score off of short hooks and layups has been crucial for the Spurs offense.
Dedmon’s rebounding percentage is at 21.4, which is the eighth most out of any player averaging 10 or more minutes. His ability to box out defenders and rise above his competition makes him a formidable presence on the glass.
What else does he contribute?
Dedmon has clearly made an outstanding impact on the defensive end, but he’s also allowed the Spurs to expand their offense by creating new opportunities.
League scouts have become accustomed to the Spurs’ “pick-and-pop” motion. This system of play has been executed flawlessly by the likes of Tony Parker and Duncan throughout the years.
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Regardless of the personnel, the motion has stayed the same and has become a staple of San Antonio’s half court offense. The addition of Dedmon has redefined the conventions of Spurs ball-movement by implementing his athleticism into the offense.
Whether it’s the screener or the roller, a defender would generally anticipate a mid-range jumper off of a pick from the Spurs. Dedmon has created a new variable in the traditional offense. His awareness and athleticism have been critical in the Spurs implementation of alley-oops into their game plan.
With the positioning and passing ability of the Spurs’ ball-handlers, defenders will often lose track of Dedmon off of a screen and allow him to cut to the basket. Once he’s in motion, the defenders have three options: foul him, get out of his way, or get ready for the poster.
Dedmon has been a commanding force offensively and is responsible for 28 of the Spurs’ 53 total alley-oops this year. His jumping ability and 7-foot-4 wingspan allow him to dunk with strength and efficiency comparable to that of DeAndre Jordan.
A Winning Mentality
Although he isn’t as young as Dejounte Murray or Kyle Anderson, Dedmon provides an element of youth for this team. He’s 27-years young, and can be a key contributor for years to come.
One of the most important aspects of Spurs basketball is unity.
Under Popovich’s system, chemistry is completely essential to success of the team and Dedmon’s integration to the team has been flawless.
Dewayne Dedmon is the only player in the NBA playing less than 16 mins, averaging 5.0 or more points, more than 5 rebs & shooting over 55%
— Paul Garcia (@PaulGarciaNBA) February 3, 2017
Dedmon’s budding chemistry with the rest of the team has been evident. He has shown the heart, hustle and unselfishness necessary to be a Spur.
Pau Gasol is anticipated to return to the lineup after the All-Star Break and will most likely regain the starting center position, but Dedmon has obviously become one of the Spurs most valuable pieces and will be critical in defeating the league’s top teams.