Dewayne Dedmon says upon arrival that his Heat goal is to ‘fill a defensive void’

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Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun Sentinel
·4 min read
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Dewayne Dedmon said he joined the Miami Heat because of a fit both with the team and with the team’s needs. He also said he now is ready for this moment.

Signed Thursday, the 7-foot veteran said it wasn’t until two weeks ago that he was back to 100 percent, having been out of the league since the end of last season.

“I’ve just been rehabbing my knee,” he said ahead of Sunday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, at the start of a four-game trip. “I had a little bone edema I’ve just been working with. So just been at the crib rehabbing and getting ready, making sure when I come back I’m 100 percent.”

While the Heat lately have been going with a smaller-ball approach, with Bam Adebayo opening at center and Trevor Ariza at power forward, Dedmon said he saw an opportunity for his skill set to augment.

“I feel like I fit on the defensive end, helping with the rim protection, helping rebound, getting more opportunities for these shooters we’ve got here,” he said. “So I come in, block a couple of shots, get a couple more offensive boards, provide a little more offense for the guards. I feel like that will help a lot.”

For the Heat, adding veterans who have been out of the game for months is nothing new. Andre Iguodala was added in February 2020 after being idle since the previous June. Ariza was added last month after being away from the game for 12 months.

“He’s like Trevor was when we acquired him and like Andre last year,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He’s in great physical condition. It’s just a matter of getting in basketball shape.”

Dedmon, 31, said he was just waiting for the phone to ring, already working out in South Florida.

“I was available for any team that was going to call,” he said. “Miami called and I kind of looked into it. There was a need for a big and a rim protector, so I kind of felt like that one fit, this opportunity fit right for me. So just coming in here, trying to protect the rim, protect the paint and score and rebound.”

There also is some history, with Dedmon working briefly in the Heat’s 2013 summer league after going undrafted out of Southern Cal.

“Yeah, that was a long time ago for a short time period,” he said. “But I mean, I’ve always liked the way everything is handled kind of with this organization, that everything is professional.”

As he said, he is aware he’s in a mix that also includes Adebayo, first-round pick Precious Achiuwa and recent trade-deadline acquisition Nemanja Bjelica at center.

“I’ve come off the bench. I’ve started. I’ve not played. I’ve done it all,” he said of his eight-year career that has included stops with the Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs, Atlanta Hawks and Sacrament Kings. “So I’m here, I’m prepared, I’m ready. Whatever coach needs me to do, I’m ready for it, whether it be five minutes, 12 minutes, 50 minutes, whatever.”

In recent years, Dedmon has added a 3-point element to his game, including 83 3-point conversions in 2018-19.

“Everybody needs rim protection, everybody needs rebounding,” he said. “But you have to evolve your game with time, and that’s something that I’ve done. So it doesn’t take away from the defensive intensity I bring to the table, it just adds a little more to it.”

All while aware he is being asked to complement Adebayo, not be Adebayo.

“I love the way Bam’s game developed,” he said. “Since he first got into the league, played against him, how he’s developed into the player he is now. So that’s definitely impressive. I love the way he plays. I love the way he kind of facilitates the offense for the team.

“I’m not Bam. I’m not looking to come in here and do what Bam does. I come in here and try to fill a defensive void that I feel like they need.”