At the start of the 2013-14 NBA season, Samuel Dalembert started as center for the Dallas Mavericks. Then DeJuan Blair took over Delembert’s role in the starting lineup. Fast-forward to Game 24 when Dallas hosted and defeated the Milwaukee Bucks, and Dalembert was the only healthy member on the Mavericks roster on the “Do Not Play” list.
With reserve Brandan Wright recovered from his shoulder fracture sustained during training camp, Wright backed up Blair from the bench and led all players from both sides in scoring. Wright also was the Mavs’ leading scorer in Dallas’ preseason home opener against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Wright’s return definitely is good news for Dallas. His massive contribution to their comeback win at home from their previous losses on the road at the Sacramento Kings’ Sleep Train Arena last Monday and the Golden State Warriors’ Oracle Arena last Wednesday was huge, but Dalembert’s DNP status on Saturday may not have been the warmest, most reassuring validation of him as a valuable Maverick.
As a matter of fact, if I were Dalembert I would take this as a total dis.
However, Dalembert is a true-blue world class Mav anddid not consider being benched as a criticism but as a way for him to improve his game. After Dallas won without him on Saturday, he still intended to show up to the American Airlines Center on the team’s day off on Sunday to practice. That is genuine dedication right there.
Since both head coach Rick Carlisle and power forward Dirk Nowitzki were out sick on Saturday and returned on Monday, we will see them both on the floor when they host the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday. Hopefully, we also will see Dalembert and his determination pay off to provide a powerful performance.