To be honest, I only got to catch about one quarter of the Mavs first preseason game. I didn't have much to time gather many impressions.
Carlisle doesn't believe Samuel Dalembert is in the shape necessary for him to be a quality starting center and told the big man as much after the Mavs' 94-92 loss Monday night to the New Orleans Pelicans. Dalembert, who signed a two-year, $7.6 million deal this summer, picked up four fouls and committed four turnovers along with four points and two rebounds in less than 11 minutes of playing time.
"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."
Yikes. This is after just ONE PRESEASON GAME PEOPLE. The fact that Carlisle brought it up without being asked is even more indication of how pissed Carlisle is. He obviously wanted to embarrass Dalembert in front of the media and call him out.
Dalembert of course didn't do much in that preseason loss to the Hornets on Monday, with all the fouling and all. When asked, he blamed it on an injury to his back he suffered in practice last week and said he feels OK now.
This is troublesome just because of Dalembert's history. Despite putting up good numbers for his career, he's never really anchored a good defensive team at center and last year, despite putting up a PER over 18 and career-highs in per-36 production, he was buried on a terrible Bucks roster. And that was even AFTER hardass Scott Skiles left the team.
There's no doubt Dalembert can helps this Mavs team. Even him putting up his raw numbers he's averaged over his career will be an improvement from what the Mavs rolled out at center last season. The Mavs will need Dalembert.
Carlisle apparently needs him in shape, too. What a great start to the Dalembert era, huh?