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The Miami Heat have been known to find value in players when many other teams wouldn’t have even take a chance on them. The organization has developed the likes of Tyler Johnson, Hassan Whiteside, Duncan Robinson, and Kendrick Nunn into players who can play key roles on any team.
Now, here is Dewayne Dedmon. The 31-year-old center was out of the league this season after playing with the Kings and Hawks in 2020. Dedmon was injured and considering taking the year off instead of signing with the Heat. Luckily, Dedmon ended up inking a deal with the defending Eastern Conference champions.
The Heat passed on many options such as DeMarcus Cousins and even though the organization showed interest in Andre Drummond, the addition of Dedmon has to exceed any expectations the organization had before he joined the team.
Dewayne Dedmon’s influence on the team’s rebounding
Dedmon has only played in 10 games for the Miami Heat, but his first game of consistent playing time with the team came nine games ago versus the Brooklyn Nets. In those nine games, the Heat have caught fire on their way to a 7-2 record.
- Miami Heat stats (pre-Dewayne Dedmon): 10.1 offensive rebounds per game allowed (21st in NBA)
- Miami Heat stats (with Dewayne Dedmon): 7.6 offensive rebounds allowed per game
Even on the offensive end, Dedmon’s work on the glass has a similar effect. The Heat ranked dead last in second-chance opportunities with only 7.8 offensive rebounds per game. That has jumped to 9.4 offensive rebounds per game, which would rank 20th in the NBA.
One of the biggest issues for the Heat was how many second-chance opportunities they allowed opponents to have each game. Combined with their own significant struggles, Miami’s offense had to shoot more efficiently to stay in the game. While it’s not all of Dedmon’s doing, he has certainly been a catalyst off the bench.
Offensive presence in the paint
Dedmon has been a model of consistency when it comes to scoring close to the basket. Dedmon has an absurd 86.7% field goal percentage from 0-3 feet, which makes up for 68.2% of his shots. The 31-year-old center has shot 26-of-30 in total from that area. Nine of those shots are dunks.
If you compare Dedmon’s statistics to Precious Achiuwa, who was earning around 10.0 mpg as a backup, the production isn’t really close. Achiuwa has shot the ball from 0-3 feet 66.8% of the time and converted baskets at a 64.7% clip.
While the sample size for Achiuwa is bigger, the eye test also says Dedmon has been more consistent. Achiuwa struggled to finish at the basket sometimes and has even missed multiple layups in one possession. Dedmon’s addition has brought the consistency they lacked before in the paint.
If that’s not enough, Dedmon also shoots 18.2% of his shots 3-10 feet from the rim, which converts to 4-of-8 from the field. The sample size is fairly small, but it’s not a surprise to see him shoot decently from that range. Dedmon is shooting 19-of-22 from the free-throw line, so he’s certainly capable of continuing his consistency on offense.
Impact on Miami Heat’s roster
Dewayne Dedmon has turned himself into the center the Heat have needed, dating back to last year’s NBA Finals. The Heat struggled in the paint on both ends and one of the main goals heading into the offseason should have been adding a big man such as Dedmon. But, Miami didn’t go that route.
Now, Miami has a big man they can rely on in the playoffs when they need to maximize possessions against the teams they play. This could be most important if the Heat face the Brooklyn Nets because he would be able to control the painted area.
Goran Dragic may have accidentally spoiled it, but Victor Oladipo and Tyler Herro could be on their way back soon. The rotation could work with Oladipo-Robinson-Butler-Ariza-Adebayo as the starters and Nunn/Herro-Dragic-Iguodala-Dedmon as the bench players.
As mentioned in our Kendrick Nunn piece, Nunn shouldn’t be out of the rotation which means Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra could have tough decisions to make. Including the unpopular opinion of benching Herro in favor of Nunn’s hot hand.
Either way, Dewayne Dedmon will be a part of those plans. Whether he continues his torrid scoring pace or not remains to be seen, but his impact in the paint on both sides of the floor should only continue to grow if Miami can bring back its star addition from the NBA Trade Deadline.
With only seven games to go in the regular season, the Heat are climbing in the standings and the fourth seed is in their sights. Miami has all they need to make another NBA Finals run, but they still have more work to do.