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.”