Dewayne Dedmon is exactly the type of backup center that the Denver Nuggets need.
In free agency, the Denver Nuggets struggled to find a quality backup for superstar center Nikola Jokic, settling on seldom-used Isaiah Hartenstein — who plays an en vogue European style of basketball — rather than more established options like Dewayne Dedmon.
Dedmon, who last played for the Atlanta Hawks, was recently released by the Detroit Pistons after being traded this offseason.
The 31-year-old is a seven-year NBA veteran who not only brings experience to an increasingly young Nuggets group but a tough and gritty defensive mindset as well. As Denver recognized their defensive deficiencies and attempted to supplement their roster with players who can be impactful defenders — like Zeke Nnaji, R.J. Hampton and JaMychal Green — last season’s weaknesses have understandably determined the direction of the Nuggets’ offseason.
One of the biggest areas of improvement the Nuggets can make is their interior defense, and Dedmon shines in this area, clogging the lane and limiting easy basket attempts with great timing and length at 7’0″ with a 7’4″ wingspan.
Last season, Dedmon averaged 0.9 blocks in 17.6 minutes per game while the NBA’s tracking data has him holding opponents to a field goal percentage of 50.0 — 10.9 percentage points fewer than they’re average — when they’re less than six feet away from the rim.
His career averages currently stand at 6.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 18.3 minutes per game but he averaged 8.1 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 23.3 minutes per game (10 games) for the Hawks’ last season. This is the type of statistical production that Denver desperately needs from their backup center.
Although the Nuggets already have a full 15-man roster and both Two-Way spots filled, each team is allowed to bring up to 20 players to training camp.
Dedmon, barring him being snatched up last minute, should be signed to a training camp contract before it begins on Dec. 1.
The biggest issue for the Nuggets would seem to be paying Dedmon a salary he wouldn’t balk at, but as he signed a three-year, $40 million with the Sacramento Kings in 2019, money shouldn’t be prevent he and the Denver from forming a partnership.