Each week, Tyler Lashbrook will let loose on whatever Orlando Magic subjects capture his interest. Welcome to part two of a special, two-part Ty Tuesday. - ED
The Magic are in the process of shaping a roster for the future. That continued with the dumping of Glen Davis that opened up playing time for Orlando's young power forwards.
The Magic have filled two of their three open roster spots with Adonis Thomas and Dewayne Dedmon. In part II of Ty Tuesday, we'll talk to Scott Rafferty of Ridiculous Upside, SB Nation's NBA D-League community, about Dedmon. Part I, about Thomas, is available here.
Tyler Lashbrook, Orlando Pinstriped Post: The first thing most Magic fans notice about Dedmon is, at 6'11-7', just how big he is. Is he all size or are there some skills there too?
Scott Rafferty, Ridiculous Upside: There's certainly skill there. He can get up and down the court and has a level of athleticism you don't usually see in a player with his size, but most importantly, he knows how to use it. He does the majority of his damage in the paint and has developed a nice hook shot in the post in his time with the Santa Cruz Warriors. He can also quite comfortably knock-down a 15-footer and while he won't torch you out there, it's nice to see him get more confident with it.
RU: He's still pretty raw on both ends of the court, which is why the Warriors and Sixers may have been put off by signing him for the rest of the season, but here's something that is worth bearing in mind: he only started playing organized basketball in his senior year of high school. He's 24 now and there's a lot of work to be done, but for someone who's only been playing basketball for six years, it's remarkable how far he's already come.
OPP: From what you've seen, what's his biggest weakness?
RU: The one word that always seems to come up when people talk about Dedmon is, "potential." He's still learning the game and he's far from a finished product. But in saying that, he's not as raw as people make him out to be.
OPP: Playing off the last question: what is his biggest strength?
RU: I just love the way he plays. He's got all the tools to be a great center, but he works hard. He doesn't just saunter down the court and set up in the post. Instead, he uses his speed, strength, and athleticism to his advantage when attacking the glass, playing defense or getting position on the low block. And all that led to great results when he was with the Santa Cruz Warriors: he averaged 15.2 points, 13.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per contest, and developed into the most exciting big man in the D-League.
OPP: Can he realistically stick with the Magic? Why or why not?
RU: Seeing as the Magic have their eyes set on the future, keeping Dedmon around wouldn't hurt them at all. He isn't going to blossom into a walking double-double overnight, nor is he going to miraculously develop a dominant post game, but there is plenty of potential there to get excited about. I really like the idea of keeping him around the rest of the Magic's young core.
Conclusion: Dedmon will likely fall behind Kyle O'Quinn as the team's third-string center, but his size and athleticism should at least give him a chance to stick around. Like Scott said, he became the most exciting big man in the D-League, so it's pretty exciting to see what he'll be able to do in the big leagues. He may never stick with the Magic, but it's nice to see management keep their eyes towards the future with the signing of both Dedmon and Adonis Thomas.
And a huge thanks to Scott for helping us out here. You can, and should, follow him on Twitter at @crabdribbles. Check out his work at his own site,Ridiculous Upside, and TrueHoop's Hardwood Paroxysm. If you want to know anything about any of the D-League guys, he's your man.