When they signed Samuel Dalembert as a free agent during the offseason, it’s safe to assume the Dallas Mavericks weren’t expecting to send a center to the All-Star game this year. Still, the tandem of Dalembert and DeJuan Blair has been a solid, if unspectacular pairing for most of the season. Over the last four games, however, their play has been very disappointing.
After averaging a combined 14.8 rebounds per game in November, the two players are combining to average just 10.6 per game in December. Of course, they’re only four games into December, and in that span they have a record of 3-1. What’s wrong with that? They have been barely managing to squeak past a couple of much weaker teams, and finally they lost handily to a miserable Sacramento Kings team that was missing a bunch of their players.
There are other factors at play causing the team to underachieve as of late, but center is just too important of a position to be struggling so much. Blair earned his way into the starting role, but he hasn’t been nearly as dominant as he was coming off the bench. He was leading the league in offensive rebounding percentage for most of the year but has only collected three offensive rebounds over the past four games.
Dalembert has been a bit on the disappointing side all season long. He wasn’t expected to add much offensively, but he was expected to handle rim-protecting duties, something he has been very inconsistent with for the first quarter of this season. His rebounding is definitely subpar for a big man of his size.
The Mavericks have managed to get by despite having lackluster play at center, but if they want to hang around with the top teams in the West they’ll need more production from the position. And if none of the players on their roster can step up it just might be time to make a move to acquire someone else.