AJC wise guy weighed in on the Smoove Snub. Now I will take a stab at figuring out if ‘Damp’ can help the Hawks.
Dampier is a big dude. Maybe he’s too big. He was last listed at 265 but, based on what I saw today, I’d say he’s at least 20 pounds north of that. (Sorry for the lack of visual evidence. I hate my phone.) I know the pool of free-agent centers is dreadfully shallow but Dampier never was the fleetest guy so now I wonder how effective he can be with the added weight.
The biggest red flags for Dampier last season were drastic declines in his scoring and rebounding rates. The two are related because Dampier didn’t grab as many offensive boards and so didn’t have as many putbacks. But Dampier still was effective when he managed to collect misses: His 1.1 points scored per possession on offensive rebounds (on 31 possessions) ranked 84th in the league last season, according to Synergy Sports Technology.
And Dampier may still have some value as a defender. His opponent PER of 14.3 last season was solid. Dampier’s Synergy defensive numbers were good: .83 points per possession allowed, 83rd-best in the league. Plus, let’s face it: At this point the Hawks just need a big body to plug in the middle so bigs can’t bull their way to the basket at will and smalls at least have an obstacle to navigate on their way to the basket.
The question with Dampier probably centers on whether he’s in good enough shape to approach those efficiency numbers now. It’s not a good sign when both coach and player say he needs time to work into game shape when he’s on a 10-day. But I’ll withhold judgment until we see Dampier on the court, which could come tomorrow vs. Dwight.
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat