Sunday, June 20

Samuel Dalembert's Misplaced Belief

The Philadelphia 76ers have shipped Samuel Dalembert to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Spencer Hawes and Andres Nocioni. In three years since being drafted by the Kings Hawes has not scored as effectively as teams would like for a big man and his rebounding has been lackluster. Over at Sac Town Royalty, they've pointed to some possible reasons for hope for Hawes yet. As for Nocioni, he was once described as perfectly mediocre (I couldn't find the link, but I did look). He's average at all facets of the game. Dalembert is statistically one of the best centers in the league for all things defensively, but for the Kings the success of this trade, minus the financial savings in a year, will be based on his willingness to focus on what he does well.

Contrast the difference in perception of what Dalemebert can bring to a team. King's GM Geoff Petrie's weighed in on the trade:

We’re excited about the acquisition of Samuel Dalembert. He will certainly bring a defensive presence and increase our ability to defend around the basket with his rebounding, shot-blocking and athleticism.
Now this perspective from Stephen A. Smith (yes that one):
For the record, Dalembert's problem is not that he couldn't play. At 6-11, he could run like a gazelle, block shots, rebound, and defend. But there's a reason he averaged 8.1 points and 9.6 rebounds in just 25 minutes per game last season: He isn't that good offensively.

Worse, everyone knows that except Dalembert.
There are far too many guys in the NBA who are better at defense, but continue to want their ego stroked on the offensive end. Perhaps the most visible in the league currently, Atlanta's Josh Smith, made some tremendous strides this season, as he recognized lingering at the 3-point line was the not the most effective use of his skill set. Here in Charlotte, Tyrus Thomas could develop into a rich man's Ben Wallace, but unless he's allowed to take 15-foot baseline jumpers he seems jilted and susceptible to fits of pouting. Even someone like Dwight Howard, would not have endured the chronic foul trouble in the playoffs were it not for his (and his coach's) desire to become a prominent feature in the offense. Some guys like Joakim Noah, Birdman, and Kendrick Perkins are able to accept their roles and make themselves even more effective by not taking bad shots. It will be interesting which Dalembert shows up for the Kings, a talented young team poised to take the next step towards relevance. Will it be the defensive presence Geoff Petrie hopes shows up or the offensive superstar in his own mind that Stephen A. Smith wrote about?

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