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What’s wrong with Dewayne Dedmon?

The Heat backup center hasn’t played well lately.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami Heat Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

After offering solid backup center minutes for most of the season, Dewayne Dedmon’s production has cratered recently. In Miami’s March 11 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, he fouled out in just 14 minutes. Last night against the Detroit Pistons, he was a -23 in his minutes; Bam Adebayo was a +25 in his.

Perhaps last night wasn’t a good matchup for Dedmon. Kelly Olynyk is a shooter, and Marvin Bagley III has a speed advantage over Dedmon. But that doesn’t explain the fact that Dedmon hasn’t looked right over the last few weeks.

Some pointed out that Dedmon wore a heat pack pre-game. Could it be that Dedmon — as the slog of an 82-game regular season winds down — needs some time to rest before the playoffs?

With Markieff Morris finally back, Erik Spoelstra utilized Morris and P..J. Tucker in the front court together. That could be an option down the stretch of the regular season and even in the playoffs unless the Heat face Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers. (Though, it should also be said that Tucker has looked like a player who needs some time off recently.)

Role players go through stretches when they look bad and right the ship. (Remember Shane Battier’s slumps in both 2012 and 2013?) I don’t see Dedmon completely getting out of the rotation like what happened to Meyers Leonard in the Bubble. Dedmon has filled in admirably for most of the season; he’s not suddenly incapable of doing that now.

Ultimately, the biggest priorities for the Heat in the playoffs will be to ensure Jimmy Butler is healthy for the playoffs and for Kyle Lowry to take more shots. Dedmon is a backup center on a minimum contract. He can fill his role.