Dewayne Dedmon (ranking among players with at least 500 minutes played)
PER=Player Efficiency Rating; WS=Win shares;BPM=Box Plus Minus
Dedmon missed 19 games with a leg injury. In four games played since his return, Dedmon has been the same productive and efficient player he was over the first 20 games.
“Ton of energy,” Hawks guard Kent Bazemore said. “Very underrated scorer, defender. Runs the floor with the best of them and really a threat on the rim in transition. He does a lot for us. He gets us guards a lot of corner 3's from his activity up and down the floor. He’s blocking shots. He plays big back there in pick-and-rolls. It’s good to have him. I love playing with him.”
I’d argue that Dedmon would be the most attractive trade piece for the Hawks if not for the injury and his $6.3 million contract option for next season. Those circumstances probably make Ersan Ilyasova the more valuable trade target, but certainly teams will be interested in Dedmon as a free agent if he finishes the season with the Hawks and opts out of his player option.
Dedmon has played well for the Hawks. But it’s notable that when coach Mike Budenholzer is asked about Dedmon’s performance, he often segues to Dedmon’s impact on the team’s culture.
“It’s been great to have Dewayne,” Budenholzer said. “His play — you guys all see it. It is fairly obvious to everyone that watches the game. But I think the thing is his energy, his voice, his leadership. He brings something to the huddle, he brings something to the locker room that I think we all appreciate. He’s in people’s ear, he’s in people’s face saying the right thing. Love the play but love the voice. I love the leadership.”
Budenholzer and his teammates have scoffed at questions from media types that are based on the premise that Dedmon is quiet. That may be the impression created by Dedmon’s admitted shyness in interviews, but he’s gregarious with his teammates and talkative with opponents during games.
“You need guys like that on your team that kind of give you that edge,” Bazemore said.
Dedmon said it’s “tough” to keeps spirits high on a team with the worst record in the NBA. Yet, with few exceptions, the Hawks have remained competitive throughout the season.
Dedmon has boosted the Hawks with his play and intangibles.
“Just trying to keep everybody together and playing together,” he said. “When we play together, we are a hard team to beat. If we just keep playing together, we will be all right.”