If Dallas is going to creep up into one of those final couple playoff spots in the West, they are going to need Samuel Dalembert. Not his offense — he doesn’t have much and the team has more than enough guys who want the rock in their hands anyway (can’t wait for the Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis fireworks with Jose Calderon stuck in the middle).
Rather, with the backcourt they assembled the Mavericks are going to need a rim-protector in the frontcourt. They are going to need a lot of Samuel Dalembert.
Dallas played its first preseason game Monday night and after it Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle pulled no punches in how disappointed he was in Dalembert’s conditioning, as reported at ESPNDallas.com.
“I just told him in front of the whole team that he’s got to keep working,” said Carlisle, who mentioned Dalembert’s conditioning issues to the media without a question being asked about the center. “We need his minutes. They’re going to be very important to us. He’s a factor. When he’s in shape, he’s a factor as a rim protector and rebounder, and he gives you a big, active, athletic body in there.”
Not shockingly, Dalembert sees things differently. The veteran says he is battling injuries.
“It’s not that,” said Dalembert, who was fighting a relatively serious case of the sniffles. “The main thing that happened to me is I got hurt. I got hurt in the first practice of camp. Stupid me, my pride takes over and I wanted to practice. I didn’t want to take off, so that kind of slowed me down a little bit.”
Dalembert struggled in his rim protector role in Milwaukee last season (the Bucks allowed 5.4 more points per 100 possessions when he was on the court, according to 82games.com) but again injuries were a key issue — he played in just 47 games.
Which is to say Dalembert needs to get healthy, he needs to get in shape or Dallas is toing to have to resort to the Don Nelson days of just outscoring everyone to win.