Player: Dewayne Dedmon
Relevant stats: Dedmon played 34 games for the Sacramento Kings and started 10. He shot 55.0% on 2.9 2-pointers and 19.7% on 2.1 3-pointers per game. He averaged 5.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks in 15.9 minutes per game.
Contract status: The Kings signed Dedmon to a 3-year, $40 million contract last summer with $1 million in incentives and the final year only guaranteed for $1 million. He was traded to Atlanta on Feb. 5.
Recap: Dedmon arrived in Sacramento with a great deal of hype as the archetype of a center to play next to Marvin Bagley. He has been an above-average defensive center throughout his career and flashed newfound 3-point range with the Hawks, making him an ideal complement to Bagley’s paint-bound, offensively-focused skillset. 3-and-D centers (outside of small-ball fives) are a rare commodity in the NBA — Myles Turner. Kristaps Porzingis, and Joel Embiid are the only ones that come to mind, and two of those players are All-Stars — so the Kings were lucky to snag Dedmon at a salary below average starter money.
Unfortunately, Sacramento didn’t get the Atlanta floor spacer version of Dedmon. He converted less than 20% of his 3-point attempts, resulting in a 47.1 true-shooting percentage. That placed him in the fourth percentile all bigs, ahead of only such luminaries as Kevon Looney, Kenrich Williams, Bruno Caboclo, and teammate Wenyen Gabriel. Last year, Dedmon had 19 games with multiple 3-point makes; he had three such outings with the Kings this season, all losses.
Dedmon’s shooting woes extended all across the court. He was awful from midrange and the floater area, but the most damaging part of his shooting profile was that he was a below-average finisher at the rim. The one way Dedmon could have been an adequate offensive player without draining threes would be finishing plays in the paint, but he scored 0.87 points per possession as the pick-and-roll roll man, ranking in the 18th percentile of the league. If it’s any consolation, he’s been even worse (0.75 PPP) since the trade.
Since Dedmon doesn’t facilitate — as seen in the clip above, he doesn’t have a great feel for how to read the floor, even from a simple spot like the post — and he coughs the ball up with regularity, he was essentially worthless on offense. The Kings had an offensive rating of 105.1 with Dedmon on the court, putting them on par with the 2019-20 Warriors.
Defensively, Dedmon was about as good as advertised. The Kings performed at the level of a top-10 defense with him on the court. He helped the team collect defensive boards and force turnovers, though his foul rate of 6.8% was a smidge too high (that’s a perennial Dedmon problem, not just in his Sacramento stint). That foul trouble limits the minutes that Dedmon is available.
Dedmon has good verticality, like against Jaylen Brown in the clip, and he was effective at containing drives and post-ups. However, he isn’t a great pick-and-roll defender. He doesn’t really have the speed to show high and get back to contest in the paint, and Luke Walton never adjusted his coverages to let Dedmon hang back. As a result, Dedmon was in the 31st percentile of defenders while allowing 1.15 PPP to pick-and-roll roll men.
Future with the Kings: Dedmon and Sacramento don’t have a future together. It might be presumptuous to make that statement considering he just ended up back in Atlanta after signing a three-year deal elsewhere, but Dedmon publicly asked for a trade, and the front office acquiesced to his request. Setting aside any potential bad blood, so long as Dedmon isn’t a shooter, the Kings don’t need him. They have Richaun Holmes under contract, who is substantially better on offense just by finishing around the rim, and he provides a reasonable facsimile of Dedmon’s defensive impact. Alex Len is also around should Sacramento require a defense-first center, and Nemanja Bjelica and Marvin Bagley can slide to the five.
The Dedmon experiment did not work out in Sacramento. He lasted as a starter for four games before Holmes supplanted him, had a -4.2 net rating (per Cleaning the Glass), and his contract almost immediately turned into dead money. Dedmon simply didn’t provide the skills that the Kings expected. Although they got off of about half of his salary for next season since they will likely have to pay Jabari Parker’s $6.5 million, they had to surrender two second-round picks in the process. Those picks may end up being terrible, but they are assets nonetheless that could have been used to acquire players rather than dumping bad ones.
Sacramento didn’t get much clarity about its frontcourt moving forward this season; even though much of that blame falls on Marvin Bagley, Dedmon didn’t help the situation. He was not an effective player, and the Kings wasted resources on him.