Dedmon is big (7-foot, 245 pounds), and he plays like it. He blocks shots, pulls in rebounds and fouls a ton. He’s underdeveloped offensively, but his size allows him to contribute.
He spent most of last season in the Magic’s rotation, even starting 15 games. Orlando should aim for Dedmon to improve or for him to see a smaller role this year.
The window for Dedmon to hit the next level is slowly closing, though it’s more open than it would be for the typical player who turns 26 next week. Dedmon didn’t begin playing basketball until late in high school, indicating he could blossom a little later, too.
He has already proven himself worth a minimum contract to provide center depth. The chance he improves made this an easy call for the Magic.
Five Things We Learned in NBA Monday: James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis all pad MVP resumes
If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while thinking photos of people covered in honey are pretty cool…
1) It’s not alwayspretty, but James Harden gets the numbers, a little help, and the Ws. James Harden’s game is to attack and put pressure on everyone — the defenders to stop him and the referees not to call the contact he creates. It works. After a slow start to the game Sunday for Houston, Harden took over the final six minutes of the first half, putting up 18 of his 34 points in the quarter. It all started after Matt Barnes picked up a flagrant for throwing Harden down. It changed the flow of the game. Chris Paul did a solid job defending Harden late — Harden was 1-of-5 for four points in the fourth — but then the Clippers were undone by their own sloppiness with the game on the line. The Clippers had six fourth-quarter turnovers and seemed to go hunting for calls rather than shots. Harden forces contact, but he’s looking for his shot the whole time and finishes through that contact well.
Plus Harden got a little help.
Clippers/Rockets may a playoff series preview. I hope not. It would just be a lot of free throws and complaining to the officials from both sides. I prefer basketball.
2) Russell Westbrook keeps getting numbers — and getting his team wins they need to have. New Orleans lost to Denver Sunday, so Oklahoma City’s win Sunday moved them back into the eighth seed and final playoff spot in the West. They got it because of Westbrook. He scored 36 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. But more than that, as he has done through this entire stretch of basketball, he just puts pressure on the other team. He does it attacking in transition. He does it with his defense. Sometimes it is both.
He is just a force of nature right now. He’s also getting a lot of help — Steven Adams and Enes Kanter combined for 32 points and 29 boards against Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah.
3) Anthony Davis puts up numbers to rival anyone else, can we get the man some help? Check out Anthony Davis’ final line from Sunday: 36 points, 14 rebounds, nine blocks, and seven assists. According to Basketball-Reference.com, no other player in the last 30 seasons has posted a line with at least those numbers. Nobody. Still the Pelicans lost 118-111. There are a couple things at play in that double-overtime result. First, sometimes it’s about when you catch a team on the schedule, and interim coach Melvin Hunt has Denver playing well again. However, the Pelicans have issues. With Ryan Anderson down they lack three-point shooting (Tyreke Evans was 4-of-11, every one else on New Orleans was a combined for 2-of-11). When they beat the Nuggets recently, Evans and Eric Gordon had success posting up Ty Lawson, but the Pelicans went away from that Sunday. The Pelicans’ defense is inconsistent and while Davis blocked everything he could the Nuggets still had 64 points in the paint. Finally, the Pelicans were just sloppy with the ball in stretches. This was the kind of game they needed to get into the playoffs, and they lost. Even with Davis doing things like this.
4) LeBron tweaked knee and could sit out second return to Miami Monday. LeBron put up impressive numbers — 21 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists — pretty quietly Sunday as the Cavaliers had little trouble against the Magic. But things got scary for Cleveland in the third quarter when LeBron tried to block Dewayne Dedmon’s shot, landed awkwardly and tweaked his knee. LeBron played through it, but after the game wondered if he would need to sit out a game or two to rest it, just to be safe. The Cavaliers travel to Miami Monday night, and while that game loses some luster without LeBron Cleveland should be able to beat slumping Miami. Maybe even Kevin Love will get to play.
5) Manu Ginobili can still make plays, which is why the Spurs will miss him for the next week. Manu Ginobili is showing his age this season. The Spurs’ fan favorite is shooting just 43 percent, and he’s been more of a solid role player than guy you lean on (Kawhi Leonard has taken over his spot in the Spurs big three). But give him the chance and Ginobili can still make plays, just ask Kevin Martin.
Which is why the Spurs will miss him — Ginobili sprained his ankle in the win over Minnesota and will be out a week to 10 days.
Magic signing Seth Curry, Drew Crawford and Kadeem Batts
I believe Seth Curry deserves an NBA chance – and I mean more than the 13 minutes he played for the Grizzlies and Cavaliers last season.
Just watching him, Seth doesn’t exude NBA talent, though he’s not that far off.
But his brother, Stephen Curry, has defied expectations at every level. Few thought his game even translated from high school to college, and now he’s an NBA star.
So, my theory is maybe we’re all underestimating Seth. Maybe there’s something about how their father, Dell Curry, and others in their lives have trained them that makes them both particularly prepared to handle the rigors of the NBA despite smaller-than-ideal body types.
It’s definitely true of Stephen, and considering how big a long shot most 14th/15th men are, I’d gamble on giving Seth an extended look.
I’m not saying Seth Curry will become an NBA star, starter or even role player. But that’s true of all 14th/15th men. I just think he makes more sense than many borderline players who get signed.
Why doesn’t a bad team with an open roster spot give him more of a chance? A bad team like the Magic would do.
Brian K. Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel:
Magic bringing Seth Curry, Kadeem Batts, Peyton Siva, Drew Crawford to camp. Then all could be headed to D-League assignments in Erie.
Essentially, there is one roster spot up for grabs.
Though I’d take the field over any single player, Curry is probably the favorite to claim it – if anyone does. The Magic could always keep just 14 players.
But they can’t waive Curry and then assign him to their D-League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks. Because Curry – unlike Siva, who went to the D-League on assignment from the Pistons, and Batts and Crawford, who are rookies – already signed a D-League contract, Curry’s D-League rights still belong to his previous D-League team. If the Magic want Curry in Erie, the BayHawks must arrange a trade with the Santa Cruz Warriors.
That’s why, if Curry proves he deserves a longer look, Orlando will probably have to keep him on the regular-season roster.
Miroslav Raduljica, after being waived by Clippers, not ready to return to Europe
Raduljica’s contributions in Milwaukee, 3.8 points on 54 percent shooting and 2.3 rebounds in 9.7 minutes per game, were modest. But for a rookie, they were encouraging. The 7-foot center could definitely stick in the NBA a bit longer.
Or he could return to Europe, where he played prior to last season. After a promising year with the Bucks, maybe he could earn more there and avoid the indignity of pitching himself to NBA teams.
After one season in the league, he said he wants to stay (though it was “a little cold in Milwaukee”). He said he’s only heard rumors about any other teams that may want him and “I’m waiting to see what’s going to happen next.”
Someone should sign Raduljica. Though I might not offer him more than a minimum contract, I’d definitely be happy to have him for that.
Plenty of teams could use a 26-year-old third center on the border of deserving a rotation spot – including the team that just waived him.
Report: Magic signing Peyton Siva to unguaranteed contract
For the Magic to retain Siva’s rights, he counts against their roster and so does his salary. They could assign him to the D-League to get him experience, but he’d still count the same.
Siva could stick as Orlando’s third point guard behind Elfrid Payton and Luke Ridnour. However, Victor Oladipo, Evan Fournier and Ben Gordon can play lead guard, so the Magic might roll with just two true point guards.
But Siva isn’t necessarily competing with just other members of the backcourt.
Orlando has 15 players under contract, including Dewayne Dedmon, whose contract is unguaranteed until the regular season begins. The competition for the Magic’s final roster spot could very well come down to Siva and Dedmon. Even if the winner (if there is one) gets sent to the D-League, at least he’ll get an NBA salary.