Dewayne Dedmon

Heat’s Dewayne Dedmon To Play In Game 5

After being a late scratch for Game 4 due to a non-coronavirus illness, Heat reserve center Dewayne Dedmon has been listed as available for tonight’s critical Game 5 at home against the Sixers, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter link). Backup Miami big man Markieff Morris was dusted off to replace Dedmon in Game 4, a 116-108 Heat loss.

Several players previously listed as questionable with a variety of ailments have all been given the green light for tonight’s contest, Winderman notes. Gabe Vincent, Tyler Herro, Caleb Martin, Max Strus and P.J. Tucker are all expected to suit up. All of those players aside from Martin are part of Miami’s playoff rotation.

The series is currently knotted at 2-2. Miami needs all the help at center that it can get, so the return of Dedmon is a welcome one. After missing Games 1 and 2 due to an orbital fracture and concussion, Sixers All-Star big man Joel Embiid returned with a vengeance, leading the club with outstanding two-way play for consecutive victories in Games 3 and 4.

Dedmon, who is in his second season with Miami, has been used in a reduced role this postseason. The 32-year-old veteran seven-footer out of USC is averaging 3.7 PPG and 2.7 RPG across three his healthy playoff contests in the series.

Eastern Notes: Giannis, Hill, Dedmon, Isaac

Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo declined to criticize the officiating after Game 3 on Saturday, Mike Hart of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. Instead, Antetokoummpo joked that he’d rather avoid the fine and spend his money on something else.

“How much does it cost if I say a comment about the ref?” he asked, as relayed by The Sporting News (Twitter link). “Is it $20,000? It’s a lot of money. So, I should not do it. I’ll save my money, I’ve got to pay for diapers.”

Antetokoumpo, of course, has a two-year-old son. He put forth an excellent performance in Game 3, finishing with 42 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in the win. The Bucks were called for six more fouls than the Celtics and shot 17 fewer free throws.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference today:

Heat Notes: Game 3, Lowry, Herro, Adebayo, Dedmon

The Heat lost Game 3 at Philadelphia 99-79 due to a dreadful shooting performance and a strong fourth quarter from the Sixers, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Miami shot just 35% from the field and 23% from deep, and was outscored 31-14 in the fourth.

We weren’t totally intentional where we were getting the ball and we paid the price for that,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Kyle Lowry struggled in his return from a strained hamstring, finishing with zero points, three assists and four fouls in 25 minutes, Jackson notes. Lowry had missed four straight playoff games during his two-week absence. He admitted he wasn’t full strength yet.

I’m healthy as I can be right now,” Lowry said. “I had one good day of working out, kind of a half day. I just got to find a rhythm. I didn’t expect to be amazing tonight. [But] I didn’t expect to have zero points.”

Here’s more from Miami:

  • Tyler Herro may desire a move to the starting lineup next season, but that might not be best for the Heat, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Herro is the team’s primary shot creator off the bench and plays starter minutes (tied for third in MPG with 32.6), so filling that void could be difficult. Victor Oladipo could theoretically slot into Herro’s place, but he’s an unrestricted free agent this summer and may desire a starting role himself, Winderman says.
  • There are strong opinions regarding how Bam Adebayo should play, but his versatility is a strength, not a weakness, Winderman relays in another story. “We want Bam to be Bam,” Jimmy Butler said before Game 3. “And I think Spo says it all the time. And it’s funny to me, because like you’re kind of damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If he’s being a playmaker, people are saying you want him to score more. If he’s scoring a lot, then you want him to be a playmaker.” After an awesome first two games against the Sixers, averaging 23.5 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 3.5 APG and 1.5 SPG while shooting 71.4% from the field and 89.5% from the line, Adebayo struggled in Game 3 upon Joel Embiid‘s return, recording nine points, three rebounds, three turnovers and five fouls on 2-of-9 shooting in 33 minutes.
  • Backup center Dewayne Dedmon has seen his minutes reduced in the postseason due to both the Heat and opponents playing smaller lineups, but he’s ready to step in when his name is called, Winderman writes. “We’ve got crazy versatility on this team,” Dedmon said. “So being able to go small and match up with whatever lineup the other team might throw at us, that’s our talent.”

Dewayne Dedmon Out 1-2 Weeks For Heat

Heat center Dewayne Dedmon, who has been starting in place of the injured Bam Adebayo, has suffered a Grade 1-Plus MCL sprain and is expected to miss one-to-two weeks, our JD Shaw tweets. Dedmon was injured early in the Heat’s 115-112 victory over the Pistons on Thursday.

In 33 games this season, Dedmon is averaging 6.5 points and 6.1 rebounds on a .575/.600/.750 shooting line in 17.2 minutes (the 60% mark on threes is a very small sample size — he’s 12-for-20 on the season). Those numbers jump up to 23.1 minutes, 8.1 points and 8.1 rebounds in his 15 starts.

A nine-year NBA veteran, Dedmon has been a solid defender and inside presence for the 20-13 Heat, the No. 4 seed in the East. He’d played in all of Miami’s games prior to suffering the knee sprain.

In addition to Dedmon and Adebayo being sidelined, the Heat have been without star Jimmy Butler (back) for 12 of their past 13 games, and Markieff Morris has missed 23 straight with whiplash, so their frontcourt depth is very limited.

Rookie center Omer Yurtseven, who’s averaging 12.3 rebounds in just 21.6 minutes over his last four games, should see more minutes in Dedmon’s absence. Udonis Haslem, the oldest player in the NBA, could also see an uptick in minutes.

Heat Notes: Robinson, Martin, Dedmon, Okpala

Despite his shooting percentages decreasing so far this season, Heat swingman Duncan Robinson is still vital to the team’s offensive gameplan, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes.

As Chiang notes, Robinson has made just 33% of his threes, but his impact goes far beyond the accuracy. Since he shot 45% in 2019/20 and 41% in 2020/21, teams fear his ability to hit outside shots, which opens up driving lanes and spreads the floor for other players.

“He doesn’t have to make shots,” teammate Max Strus explained. “Obviously, he wants to shoot better. But just him being on the floor spaces the floor so much for us because guys aren’t going to help off of him.

“He has the reputation, everybody knows how good of a shooter he is. So guys aren’t going to help. He opens up so much floor space and when he’s in actions as a trigger, he creates so much for our offense because guys overreact to everything. He’s really valuable out on the floor at all times.”

In addition to his ability to spread the floor, Robinson’s durability has been commended by Heat officials. According to Chiang, the forward is on track to play in his 174th consecutive game on Saturday against Chicago, which would tie a franchise record set by Glen Rice in 1994.

Here are some other notes out of Miami:

  • Caleb Martin is proving to be a “slam dunk” bargain, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinal writes. Martin has been one of the league’s best players on a two-way contract this season. Most recently, he pitched in 28 points, eight rebounds and two blocks during the team’s 113-104 win over Milwaukee on Wednesday.
  • In a separate article for the Sun Sentinel, Winderman examines whether the Heat are getting enough out of backup center Dewayne Dedmon. The 32-year-old has been starting in place of Bam Adebayo (torn UCL). In 26 games, he’s averaged 5.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 15.6 minutes.
  • KZ Okpala impressed coaches and teammates alike with his performance against the Bucks, Chiang writes for the Miami Herald. Okpala recorded 10 points and nine rebounds off the bench, allowing Miami to play small with P.J. Tucker at center for various parts of the game.

Southeast Notes: Anthony, Yurtseven, Dedmon, Hornets

Magic guard Cole Anthony is an early-season candidate for Most Improved Player, Josh Cohen of NBA.com writes. Anthony is averaging 20.2 points and 6.0 assists per game on 43% shooting from the floor, up from last season’s averages of 12.9 points, 4.1 assists and 40% shooting.

“I think it is a reflection of his work ethic,” head coach Jamahl Mosley said. “It’s a reflection of his confidence, and it’s also the confidence that his teammates have in him to be willing to take those shots.

“But again, you also have a group of guys on the floor that are willing to take shots, That’s what we’ve created and it’s the equalness of each guy willing to want to step in to be able to make the big play, so whoever it is they’re willing to have their number called and step in and make a play.”

Anthony is averaging 34.4 minutes per game (compared to 27.1 MPG in 2020/21), but his shooting marks have also improved across the board. The Magic drafted the 21-year-old with the No. 15 pick in 2020.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

Southeast Notes: Collins, Johnson, Carter Jr., Dedmon

John Collins re-signed with the Hawks on a five-year, $125MM contract as a restricted free agent during the offseason. So far, it’s working out well for both sides, according to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. Collins is averaging 16.6 PPG, 8.0 RPG and 1.3 BPG.

“He’s had stretches like this all of the time,” Hawks star Trae Young said. “Now he’s being so consistent with it. This is normal for him. He’s playing really well on the offensive end. On the defensive end, he’s just as good if not better. “

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Jalen Johnson‘s only path to playing time with the Hawks this season is more frontcourt injuries, head coach Nate McMillan told Kirschner (Twitter link). The 20th overall pick of this year’s draft, Johnson is playing with the G League’s College Park Skyhawks to develop his game, Sarah Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. “That’s what it’s for and that’s what we want him to do,” McMillan said.
  • Magic center Wendell Carter Jr. was fined $35K by the league for forcefully throwing his protective glasses at a game official, Hoops Rumors’ JD Shaw tweets. The incident, for which Carter was assessed a technical foul and ejected, occurred in the fourth quarter of the Magic’s loss to Cleveland on Saturday.
  • Heat center Dewayne Dedmon was fined $15K by the league for kicking a seat cushion from his team’s bench into the stands, Shaw adds in another tweet. Dedmon was assessed a technical foul and ejected for his action, which occurred in the fourth quarter of the Heat’s win over Chicago on Saturday.

Heat Notes: Dedmon, Robinson, Vincent, Rotation, Nuggets Rematch

Veteran center Dewayne Dedmon had trouble finding a standard contract last season before finishing the season with the Heat. He re-signed with the team on a minimum-salary deal over the summer, and he’s making the most of his minutes, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

Coach Erik Spoelstra says Dedmon is an excellent communicator defensively and is ecstatic with his production.

He has been so vital to our team,” Spoelstra said. “He’s a big big, as Pat [Riley] likes to say, and he makes his presence felt. Defensively, he’s one of our best communicators, if not our best communicator. He’s big at the rim. He protects the rim. He gives us a different kind of feel at that center position than Bam. And he has a great knack for the ball — offensive rebounding, sliding into open spots, making himself available so he can finish in the paint. And he has a good touch for a big. We couldn’t be happier with the minutes and productivity he’s giving from that position.”

Miami has been a been a far better team with Dedmon on the court than off — Chiang writes that Dedmon has a team-high plus/minus of plus-99, and advanced stats point to his high-level contributions in limited minutes. The big man says he’s having fun with the Heat, and no matter how many minutes he receives, he’s going to play as hard as he can.

It’s just fun basketball, man,” Dedmon said. “Just come in, give it my all no matter how many minutes I’m going to play. Whether its 10, 15, 20, just play as hard as I can. So just having fun with it.”

Sharpshooter Duncan Robinson says Dedmon’s consistency has been crucial to the team’s success. The Heat are currently 12-7, third in the East.

I think a huge strong suit of Dewayne is you just know what you’re going to get,” Robinson said. “He’s going to communicate, he’s going to be vocal, he’s going to be physical, he’s going to set screens, he’s going to be unselfish, he’s going to rebound, he’s going to put pressure on the other team to box out and then also to protect the rim. He’s super consistent and he has definitely, in many games, given us a boost particularly just creating second chances and protecting the rim and that paint.”

It’s an interesting article from Chiang with some more good quotes — it’s worth checking out in full.

Here are some more Heat notes:

  • In an “Ask Ira” mailbag, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel wonders whether Robinson, who’s struggled the first quarter of the season, is a fit for a championship-caliber team. He notes that Robinson’s defense is a definite concern, but when he’s making shots, he can be an X-factor for the Heat.
  • In the same piece, Winderman opines that backup Gabe Vincent shouldn’t be shoe-horned into being a primary ball-handler, when his skill set is more in the mold of a shooting guard who is solid defensively.
  • In a separate “Ask Ira” column, Winderman writes that he isn’t concerned with the team’s rotation, which has fluctuated at times beyond the top-eight core of starters Bam Adebayo, P.J. Tucker, Robinson, Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, and reserves Tyler Herro, Dedmon and Markieff Morris. He believes other members of the team will receive minutes based on matchups.
  • Winderman recently asked former NBA executive Stu Jackson about the Heat’s rematch with the Nuggets on Monday night. The last time the team’s faced, there was an altercation between MVP Nikola Jokic and Morris. Morris has been sidelined since the incident with whiplash. Jokic has missed the past six games with an unrelated wrist injury. Jackson says the officials will be on high alert. “In short,” Jackson, now a Big East executive, said, “the officiating crew will be on high alert. Not only because of the matchup between the two of them, but also just the tone of the game, early on, which I suspect the referees will establish a mindset that they’re not going to tolerate any BS. The last thing an official wants to do is have something break out in their game that doesn’t have to do with the game.”

Heat Notes: Lowry, Power Forwards, Martin, Camp Questions

New Heat starting point guard Kyle Lowry is looking forward to building an on-court relationship with incumbent stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

Lowry, a six-time All-Star and 2019 title winner with the Raptors, inked a three-year, $85MM contract with Miami in a sign-and-trade deal this summer. Butler and Lowry have been friends since winning a Gold medal together for Team USA in the 2016 Olympics. Lowry is the godfather to Butler’s daughter.

“Having that common interest in the love of the game and how hard we work and how much we want to win, that was the first thing of us being on the same page,” Lowry explained of the origins of his relationship with the All-NBA swingman.

Lowry also expressed excitement about what Adebayo brings to the floor. “Bam can handle the ball,” Lowry raved. “He can make plays, super athletic. He’s high energy. He’s competitive.” Lowry expects that his own facilitating abilities will benefit the big man. The 35-year-old hopes that he can help Adebayo “be in better spots” and get “easier looks, layups and dunks.”

There’s more out of South Beach:

  • Questions remain about how much three-point shooting the Heat will be able to get out of their power forward corps, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. The team’s two new power forward additions, recent champions P.J. Tucker and Markieff Morris, have seen their long-range output dip recently. Tucker, 36, is a career 35.9% shooter, but his shooting fell to 32.2% from deep during the Bucks’ 2021 playoff run. Morris connected on 38.6% of his 3.9 triples per game with the Pistons and Lakers during the 2019/20 season, but saw that number fall to 31.1% in 2020/21. KZ Okpala and re-signed big man Dewayne Dedmon could also see time at the power forward position alongside starting Adebayo in Miami’s frontcourt, though both have been unreliable from long range. Dedmon had two seasons with the Hawks, in 2017/18 and 2018/19, in which he averaged 35.5% or better on a decent volume of three point attempts, but has not connected on more than 21% of his threes in a single season since. Seven-footer Omer Yurtseven, meanwhile, is a solid three-point shooter, but Jackson wonders if the Heat will trust him enough to give him meaningful minutes in their rotation.
  • With training camp just around the corner, new two-way player Caleb Martin will do his darnedest to prove his mettle as a candidate for legitimate Heat roster minutes, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel“At the end of the day, regardless if I’m on a two-way or if I was on an Exhibit 10, it doesn’t matter,” Martin said. “I’m just coming into training camp to try to play the best basketball I can and contribute any way I can and impact enough in a way to where I earn minutes.”
  • The Heat are figuring out rotational questions for the fringes of their roster ahead of training camp, says Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Winderman notes that, in the absence of Kendrick Nunn (now with the Lakers) and Goran Dragic (traded to the Raptors as part of the Lowry deal), Gabe Vincent looks like he will begin the season as the Heat’s prime backup point guard. 6’5″ backup shooting guard Tyler Herro could see an uptick in ball handling duties. The rotational fate of forward Okpala, on the last season of a three-year deal, could be figured out in the club’s preseason. Winderman anticipates that Micah Potter, Javonte Smart, Dru Smith and D.J. Stewart will have plenty to prove in the preseason, though they will most likely spend the majority of the 2021/22 season with the Heat’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce. Each player will hope to intrigue the Heat enough in training camp to encourage a call-up to Miami during the season.

Heat Notes: Jarreau, Okpala, Stewart, Yurtseven

A strong Summer League performance has made DeJon Jarreau a leading candidate to grab one of the Heat‘s open two-way slots, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. A thigh contusion forced Jarreau to miss the two games in Sacramento, but he was among the team’s best players in Las Vegas, averaging 11.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists.

The 23-year-old guard played for Miami this summer after going undrafted out of Houston and finds himself in an open competition for a two-way deal. Both of last season’s two-way players, Max Strus and Gabe Vincent, have received standard contracts.

“With DeJon, it’s just his makeup,” said Summer League coach Malik Allen. “He finds a way to put his imprint on the game … He has the vision and it’s just a matter of trying to harness the things that we see so he can keep growing and getting better as an NBA point guard.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • KZ Okpala went from the playoffs to the Olympics to the Summer League, and now he’s focused on trying to expand his role in his third NBA season, Chiang notes in a separate story. However, Okpala’s path to more minutes appears blocked after Miami added P.J. Tucker and Markieff Morris in free agency. Okpala is heading into the final season of a three-year, $4.2MM contract.
  • The Heat see potential in D.J. Stewart, who signed an Exhibit 10 contract on Tuesday, Chiang adds. The undrafted guard out of Mississippi State is likely to end up with the team’s G League affiliate in Sioux Falls. “There is something there. He’s long. He’s got good athleticism. He’s competitive,” Allen said. “And offensively he’s got a little ways to go, but just continuing to develop. … He’s just one of those great intangible guys that has a lot of potential to keep growing in that type of role.”
  • Omer Yurtseven‘s impressive Summer League showing may give him a chance to become Miami’s backup center, per Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. That job currently belongs to veteran Dewayne Dedmon, but Winderman expects Yurtseven to see spot duty early in the season to determine which frontcourt combinations are most effective.