The NBA trade deadline has come and gone, with the Sixers opting to only do the one deal to land veteran guard George Hill. While he will certainly be a great addition to the team, the Sixers decided not to deal for a stretch big man at the trade deadline — which was an interesting decision to say the least.
It isn’t like the Sixers lacked any options in the trade deadline market either, as we saw names such as Nemanja Bjelica, Moritz Wagner, and Luke Kornet moved. While most of these players aren’t household names by any means, they could be viable rotation players in the right situation. All of the before-mentioned names were basically throw-ins or acquired for little to no compensation at all.
The biggest reason the Sixers have been so dominant this season is due to their abundance of spacing around Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. The Sixers have done an excellent job at getting floor spacers with Seth Curry, Danny Green, and now, George Hill. However, they’ve lacked a viable stretch big off the bench for the entire year. Mike Scott is supposed to fill that need, but he’s been borderline unplayable for the majority of the season, only shooting a mere 33 percent from behind the arc.
The Sixers don’t have much of an answer outside of Dwight Howard for a bench big, as they traded away Tony Bradley and Vincent Poirier in the George Hill deal. Howard, while being a quality backup for the majority of the season, isn’t going to provide the Sixers with any real floor spacing. We’ve often seen the Sixers’ offense stall at times in which Howard shares the court alongside Ben Simmons. While the time in which those two play will be limited during the postseason, it could spell trouble for the Sixers. The postseason brand of basketball is a lot more halfcourt offense played at a slower pace.
The Sixers also recently converted Paul Reed (AKA BBall Paul) from a two-way contract into a standard NBA deal. While BBall Paul was downright dominant in the G League bubble, it wouldn’t be realistic to expect him to be an impact player for this upcoming postseason.
The Sixers’ current roster shows no real answer to the team’s conundrum of lacking a stretch big, so they might need to look elsewhere to help patch up this roster hole before the playoffs. Dewayne Dedmon, a NBA veteran big man and current free agent, could possibly be a short-term answer to this problem.
A lot of Sixers fans will recognize Dewayne Dedmon’s name on numerous levels. For one, he actually is a former Sixer — signing two 10-day contracts during the 2014-15 season. His name has been linked as a potential great fit for the Sixers during a few prior seasons, as he blossomed into being a good stretch big in the NBA while playing for the San Antonio Spurs and Atlanta Hawks.
Dedmon even developed into a good starting center for a few seasons. He was a capable defender and an above average rim protector that could stretch the floor well — even shooting an impressive 38.2 percent from 3 during the 2018-19 season with the Atlanta Hawks.
So, why has Dewayne Dedmon been sitting on the free agent market since the conclusion of last season? He unfortunately regressed in his game on a few levels — mainly with his shooting. He signed a massive three-year $40 million dollar contract with the Sacramento Kings after a career year with Atlanta. Struggles from shooting beyond the arc and the emergence of Richaun Holmes led from Dedmon going from the starting five to being out of the rotation altogether. As a result, it led to Dedmon wanting out of Sacramento before being moved back to the Atlanta Hawks in a midseason trade.
Dedmon’s big contract and lack of an improving efficient offense led to Atlanta quickly flipping him to Detroit, before being waived.
So why should the Sixers even think about signing Dedmon after his ultimate downfall? Well, it’s simple: he’s arguably the best option on the free agent market for what they currently need. The Sixers need a center that knocks down 3s at a decent rate while also being somewhat playable on the defensive end. While recent seasons have definitely been disappointing for Dedmon’s offense, I do believe he’s capable of putting together better performances on the court, as he’s had two prior great seasons shooting the basketball. A change of scenery in a successful team could do wonders for him.
Daryl Morey is also known for reviving free agents’ careers over the past few seasons. One perfect example of this was with journeyman Gerald Green, who bounced around the NBA for a few years. He was waived by the Milwaukee Bucks after the 2017-18 preseason, which resulted in him being a free agent for two months until he signed with Morey’s Houston Rockets. Gerald Green didn’t just manage to win over a roster spot, he became an integral piece of the Rockets’ rotation for seasons to follow as a 3&D player. Green went from out of the NBA to playing a productive 20-plus minutes per game on one of the league’s best teams.
Other examples of this could be found with Josh Smith, Jeff Green, or James Ennis. Morey does a great job of working the margins and helping free agents prolong their NBA careers. Who is to say the same couldn’t happen with Dedmon and the Sixers?
Dedmon’s offensive drop-off does come as a major talking point for concern, but the Sixers could have a low-risk, high-reward opportunity in inquiring about him joining the team.
There are some hurdles in signing Dedmon however, as the Sixers would need to clear out a roster spot for them to sign any free agent/buy-out target. Ignas Brazdeikis, the other player the Sixers acquired in the George Hill deal, would likely be the odd man out in this scenario, as he only has a team option for the upcoming season.
The Sixers have limited time to make any last-minute improvements to the team before they head into their postseason run. If they do choose to pursue a sweet-shooting big, Dedmon should be one of the names at the top of their list.
— Dewayne Dedmon (@d_dedmon3) April 1, 2021