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Sam Dalembert: The Malignancy Grows

Thumbnail image for Not one of Sammy's finer performances. (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
It's time to take a look back on the 2008-2009 season, and assess how each player performed. More importantly, though, I want to pay close attention to how the pieces on this young team progressed. It's Samuel Dalembert's turn today. Stats, trends, highlights and lowlights after the jump.

The Stats

Best Game

Sammy had a couple of eye-popping stat lines, including a 15-point, 23-rebound effort against Golden State, but I'm going to pick a different kind of game. On March 13th, the Bulls and Sixers played the final game at the Spectrum and Samuel Dalembert put forth what I consider the ultimate game for him. He was 4/6 from the floor in his 35 minutes of work for only 8 points, so not a big part of the offense at all, which is ideal. He did, however, put his stamp on the game on the boards and in guarding the hoop. He grabbed 19 boards, blocked 4 shots and only turned the ball over once. 

Worst Game

There were plenty to choose from here, but I'm going to go all the way back to November 11th. In 20 minutes of work, Sammy managed to score 2 points, collect 2 rebounds and foul out of the game.

Overall Thoughts

What can I say about Sammy that hasn't already been said? He's an enigma. By far the best rebounder on a team that desperately needed defensive rebounding most of the year, yet saw his minutes drastically cut. If you ask Tony DiLeo why, he'll tell you Sammy couldn't stay out of foul trouble, but he only fouled out of 2 games, and only played enough minutes to pick up 5 in 8 other games.

As for development, there wasn't any from last year to this. I would say he backslid, but honestly, he didn't. His rebound rate was higher. He didn't foul at a higher rate. He just saw his minutes cut, drastically. Was it without cause? My guess is no. I think Sammy ran roughshod over an interim coach, didn't apply himself in practice, didn't put the coach's defensive principles into play on the court and he basically did whatever he wanted to on and off the court. In short, he became a cancer, or at least that's the impression I've gotten from afar.

Sammy is not a perfect player, far from it. His offensive game is pathetic. He makes idiotic decisions with alarming regularity, but believe it or not, I can almost live with that. The fact of the matter is he changes the game on the glass and on the defensive end. If you could somehow convince him to do nothing but set solid screens and crash the glass on offense, he'd be a very, very useful piece for any team. After 8 years, though, I just don't know that anyone at all can get through to him. When his poor work ethic and stupid comments to the press start to infect the rest of the team, well, I think you have to try to remove him from the equation.

I don't think a trade will happen. Even if it does, we have to realize the Sixers on the floor will be worse without Sammy. That's the cunundrum. Can't live with him, can't live without him.