September 25, 2017 Atlanta: Dewayne Dedmon poses for a photo during Hawks Media Day on Monday, September 25, 2017, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton

‘Just trying to help the young guys out:’ Dedmon envisions his role with Hawks

With his 7-foot-tall frame and outgoing personality, it’s hard to miss Dewayne Dedmon. 

Back for his second stint with the Hawks, the team felt Dedmon’s presence right away, Kevin Huerter said Friday. 

“He’s usually the loudest one in the room, whichever one he’s in, and he’s got a big personality,” said Huerter, who played alongside Dedmon last season. “Guys like him. He’s funny. But at the same time, he wants to get serious, so he’s a person people listen to. It’ll be good for us.” 

In one of their many trade-deadline moves, the Hawks acquired Dedmon from Sacramento on Wednesday night in exchange for Jabari Parker, Alex Len and two second-round picks. It’s a return to the familiar for Dedmon, who was welcomed back by returning Hawks players. 

“Off the court, can’t speak about him well-enough, but on the court, I’m happy with (what) he brings, his spacing, his mentality, his veteran leadership,” third-year power forward John Collins said. 

After going the first several months of the season without a starting-caliber center and with Collins undergoing a 25-game suspension, with Parker sliding in at the 4 until injuries slowed him down, the Hawks now have an abundance of bigs to sort through post-trade deadline. With centers Damian Jones and Bruno Fernando already on the roster, they acquired Clint Capela from Houston, who likely will start once healthy, and in adding Dedmon, they’ve got another center who can stretch the floor and help the team’s defense. 

There certainly are questions of fit and chemistry the Hawks will have to sort out on the court. But as far as intangibles, as a 30-year-old veteran on an exceptionally young team, Dedmon looks forward to taking on more of a leadership role. 

“Just coming back, being a veteran leader for the young guys, try and help them out and have my two cents here and there,” Dedmon said of his role, after joining the team in Boston on Friday. “So just trying to help the young guys out.” 

Playing in his sixth NBA season, Dedmon’s two best seasons ⁠— by far ⁠— came in his two-year stretch with the Hawks in 2017 and 2018. He averaged 10.4 points and 7.7 rebounds over that span, morphing into someone who had attempted one 3-point shot in 3,270 minutes played in the NBA into a solid threat from distance, shooting 38.2% from 3 last season. 

He signed with Sacramento in free agency, and his time with the Kings went much less smoothly, with Dedmon losing his starting role after four games and contributing sparingly off the bench. Ultimately, Dedmon was fined $50,000 by the NBA after publicly requesting a trade in January

“You know, not everything works,” Dedmon said of his time in Sacramento. “An outlet with a different kind of plug is not going to fit all the time. Sometimes you just have differences. I’m back, so it’s all right.” 

Considering it hasn’t been all that long since he left Atlanta, there’s really not all that much adjusting for Dedmon to do up front. 

“It’s a good feeling, coming back to somewhere I’m familiar with the coaching staff… I’m excited,” Dedmon said. 

Dedmon wasn’t able to play in the Hawks’ loss to the Celtics (according to coach Lloyd Pierce, they were still waiting on physicals for Len and Parker to go through in Sacramento), but he’s already using his voice in the way Pierce wants. 

“Just instantly comes in, and he’s asking questions in the film session, and the guys are excited,” Pierce said. “The guys that were here, that know him, are excited to see him back. He’s just like that bounce, like that energy. We know what he’s capable of doing on the court.”

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