The Miami Heat was dealt a huge blow with the loss of starting center Bam Adebayo. The gold medalist and possible Defensive Player of the Year nominee suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament and is expected to be out for a minimum of six weeks.
Stepping up to take his place, backup center Dewayne Dedmon. While the 32-year-old veteran has proved to be a reliable player off the bench, he now gets the opportunity to show off what he can do as a starter.
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During his first game in the Heat’s starting lineup, Miami suffered an embarrassing 111-85 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, December 1, Dedmon was one of the few players to finish the game with a positive rating. He played a season-high 31 minutes and scored 11 points with 13 rebounds and three assists.
Before Miami’s road game against the Indiana Pacers on December 3, Sun Sentinel‘s Ira Winderman asked if Dedmon if Adebayo imparted any words of advice for becoming the team’s new starting center, and his response was both hilarious and blunt.
“Yeah,” Dedmon deadpanned, “it was a really good quote he said to me, he was like, ‘Now is your time,'” before breaking into a huge smile.
“I’m lying,” Dedmon continued. “He didn’t say nothing. It’s basketball, next man up.”
Dedmon Is Not Trying to Replicate Adebayo’s Style of Play
After eight years in the NBA, Dedmon knows a thing or two about staying ready as a backup. He’s also not going to try and replicate Adebayo’s exact style of play.
“You got to be yourself at the end of the day,” he said. “You’re not trying to make up for what somebody else does. I am who I am. So that’s the coverage I play defense in.”
“Me and Bam definitely have a different coverage,” Dedmon continued. “I feel like Bam, he’s on track to put his name in the DPOY vote. So the way he plays defense is a lot different than how I play defense. Like mine is more blitzes, zones. Bam is a switch out, guard one through five.”
While Dedmon is eight years older than Adebayo, the undrafted player out of Southern California says he’s ready to play more minutes every night. “I’m good. I’m young,” he said. “I still got a little prime juice in these knees, so I’m good.
“Like I say, you just stay on top of your conditioning. When the minutes do come, I’m ready.”
Erik Spoelstra Is Confident in Dedmon’s Talent
Despite Demon’s comments, Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra said he will still try and limit his minutes to keep him healthy until Adebayo can return. However, like Dedmon, Spoelstra just wants him to be himself out there.
“I want him just playing his role,” Spoelstra said. “It’ll be for a more extended time. I want him to be who he is, play to his strengths. What he does for us is very good. He doesn’t have to try to be Bam. He’s a different player.”