A key part of the Sacramento Kings offseason was finding a center who would be an ideal pairing with the number two pick Marvin Bagley III. Willie Cauley-Stein had many fans agitated on a nightly basis with his lackluster effort level, inconsistency, and clear lack of spacing. Dewayne Dedmon and Brook Lopez were identified as cost-effective options, and Milwaukee quickly removed Lopez from that list.
Vlade Divac inked a three-year, $40-million deal with Dedmon not long after the opening of free agency. It all made sense. Dedmon shot 38% from three the previous season in Atlanta. He also played alongside a similar playing style big as Bagley in John Collins.
Things have not gone according to plan for Sacramento, as Dewayne Dedmon lost his starting job to Richaun Holmes after just four games, and recently logged his first DNP-CD. There is credit due to Richaun Holmes, who is emerging as a Montrezl Harrell type-player with a high motor and impact on both ends of the floor. Holmes currently leads the NBA in field-goal percentage, but Dedmon has been horrific in his own right.
The spacing he provides is non-existent, shooting just 22.9% from three on the season, leading to opposing gameplans to simply ignore him on the perimeter and dare him to shoot. The rim protection has been evident at an average level, more than what could be said for Cauley-Stein, but his turnovers have been mind-boggling. Furthermore, he is a legitimate negative on the offensive end — where he was supposed to have a majority of his impact.
Luke Walton elected to play Nemanja Bjelicia at the five over Dedmon in the most recent game against the Dallas Mavericks. Most fans in Sacramento have turned on Dedmon fast, but maybe there is a sliver of a reason to hold onto some hope.
In Atlanta, Dedmon struggled as a shooter to start the 2017-18 season as well. Through his first 22 games played for the Hawks, he averaged a sub-par 24.5% from beyond the arc, until game 23 when he had a flawless five-for-five performance from deep. He then proceeded to shoot 42.7% for the remainder of the season. John Collins, his ideal pairing, also missed the first 15 games of that season, leaving Dedmon out of his expected role.
Currently in Sacramento, there are 21 games in the books and Dedmon is at 22.9% from three. Marvin Bagley has missed every game other than the season opener for the Kings this season; though his return is expected at any time now.
Dedmon can’t get many more open looks than the ones the opposition is giving to him on a silver platter, but the hope is that bringing Bagley back will revive a comfort level for Dedmon to be placed in the role that he was expecting when he signed his name on the dotted line.
In Atlanta, Dedmon was rewarded by moving into the starting lineup after starting the season with somewhat low expectations. Anyone would lose confidence in themselves if they were moved out of the starting lineup that early into a season on a brand new team, and the expectation for him heading in was at an all-time high for himself, after being valued at $13-million annually.
Dedmon has defined disappointment, and many Sacramento fans are all too familiar with the feeling, but Bagley returning and a few games featuring a strong shooting performance could break him out of this slump.
If the Kings want to end their league-high 13-year playoff drought, Dedmon will need to return to form. They are not out of the picture after a rollercoaster of a start, currently sitting just a game out of the eighth seed in the competitive Western Conference.