Samuel Dalembert: A Man Possessed vs. New Jersey

Samuel DalembertWhen people talk about Samuel Dalembert the conversation often goes something like this:

Did you see Dalembert last night? Yeah, he looked clueless out there on the court. I know, and he needs to shut his mouth about playing time, too. I don’t know what the hell Billy King was thinking when he signed him to that long-term contract. The Sixers should try and trade him.

I know I have personally been in a few conversations just like that about Sammy. Well tonight I thought I’d switch it up and give the Haitian Sensation some love for a change.

The Sixers took a big step towards locking up a playoff spot with their win against the New Jersey Nets tonight, and Sammy was as big a part in that win as anyone. His line: 40 minutes, 15 points, 13 rebounds 5 blocks and only 1 turnover. Those numbers don’t even tell the whole picture of how good of a game Dalembert had. Besides the blocks he probably altered another 10 shots and used his quick hops to contest and then grab the board after a miss. This was most prominent during crunch time.

In the last 4 minutes of the game, the Sixers defense was very strong. They poked balls away, hustled back against the break and funneled people right at Sammy who didn’t disappoint. The best part was Dalembert’s ability to stay on the court. With Vince Carter, Devin Harris and Richard Jefferson constantly getting into the lane, Sam successfully contested and changed shots while not making dumb fouls. With a likely playoff matchup against Dwight Howard and Orlando, playing smart and staying on the court will be the most important thing he will have to do for the 76ers to have any chance.

Slammin’ Sammy D gets a big Kudos from me tonight, and hopefully I will get more opportunities to praise him.

Other game notes:

The Sixers showed some of the best offensive execution down the stretch. With relentless penetration off pick-and-rolls, Miller and Iguodala were able to get into the teeth of the defense and make accurate passes to wide open shooters and teammates under the basket. It is always a concern when the 76ers need to score in the half court, but they showed they are capable against the Nets.

Lou Williams seemed to have come out of his funk, scoring 7 points in the last few minutes to seal the win. Lou is clearly a fan favorite, and everyone has been hoping he would snap out of it and play to his potential. Hopefully this game will springboard him into the playoffs with the right groove.

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Sixers Handle Spurs – ‘Tough Stretch’ Becomes Win Streak

Philadelphia 76ers beat the San Antonio Spurs

I am writing this post after getting home from another superb performance and win by our 76ers over the San Antonio Spurs.  That means my head has not exploded – yet.  In my opinion this was the perfect basketball game to attend when you are a die-hard fan of the home team has 3 main characteristics.

  1. Some exciting plays and moments. That can be dunks, crossovers or draining a few big three point shots.
  2. A comfortable lead that is not too large that you lose interest because the game is a rout.
  3. A victory. Obviously this is the most important trait.

This game, at least for me, was perfect.  It had all the aspects, and the win is even sweeter coming against the defending NBA champions.

Observations from the game

  • Another packed house – 19,942.  Compared to the Boston game the crowd was almost entirely Philly dominated.  The fans were electric from the opening tap, and this was easily the loudest the Wachovia Center has been in all the games I’ve attended.   
  • Andre Miller’s post game was dominating against Tony Parker.  Parker’s weak defense was completely exposed all game by Miller.  What I found interesting was Miller’s pre-game and halftime routine.  Almost every single shot he practiced was from the corners in that 15-17 foot range.  It served as foreshadowing for what was to come during the game.
  • The Spurs looked tired coming off a tough lost in Detroit the night before.  With that said, it takes nothing from the Sixers even a little bit who had their own hard fought game last night.  From the jump they controlled the game on offense working in the half-court through Miller’s post game, at times almost exclusively.  Our guys clearly had much more energy evidenced by the 12 offensive rebounds, many of which were floor boards.  The Sixers won the hustle points aspect of the game getting to most of the lose balls.
  • What won’t show up in the box score was Samuel Dalembert’s individual defense on Tim Duncan.  Timmy shot 5-14, scoring just 16 points and pulling down only 6 boards in 33 minutes.  When the Spurs were trying to make their run cutting the lead to 6, Dalembert did what everyone said he couldn’t.  Stop Duncan with no help.  He blocked two Duncan shot attempts straight up, which for me sealed the win.
  • The final game note is a very promising one.  I saw a clear sign of Andre Iguodala’s emerging leadership.  When San Antonio was pressing at the end of the game, in two possessions Lou Williams turned the ball over, then almost did it again but was bailed out with a foul call.  As Williams headed to the line Iguodala who was visibly pissed off after the previous turnover put his arm around Lou’s head “tight.” What came next can only be assumed as a stern “get your act together” judging from his face followed by some words of encouragement.  I was very pleased to see this type of behavior from the Sixers best player.

Going into the Boston game all the talk was about this “tough stretch” coming up and rightfully so.  The next 11 games for the 76ers are against the likes of Boston (twice), Detroit, Chicago (twice), San Antonio, Denver, Orlando, New Jersey, Phoenix, and Cleveland.

But I think the mentality of the fans when saying “tough stretch” was still coming from a losing team perspective.  Meaning the expectation over the next 11 games was vastly lowered.  If I would have said the Sixers would be 3-1 in these first four games I would have been laughed at and called “retarted.” 

But times are changing and our expectations for the Sixers should be changing as well.  Are they a title contender? Of course not.  In fact they aren’t even over .500 yet.  But what they are is a team that has finally figured out how to win – consistently.  Like Pete pointed out, the team is 17-6 since the end of January ranking second the in the Eastern Conference.  And I believe this level of performance will continue through the last 15 games of the regular season and into the playoffs.

Come on Philadelphia 76ers fans, it’s time to expect more from this team.  They deserve it.

They’re Stealing Money! The Most Overpaid NBA Players

The Poster Boy for Stealing Money in the NBA

My ’07-’08 installment of the most-overpaid NBA players has a mix of big-time players (well, they used to be) and some lesser-known scrubs collecting checks they don’t deserve. I love America!

Note: The salary data presented here is not guaranteed to have perfect figures (mainly because many of these washed-up players have been bought out of their original contracts for a lesser amount) – but it’s close enough. These are simply my opinions using information obtained from a host of online sources.

With that said – let’s get to it with The Top 10

Starting with the poster boy for this group – C. Webb

  1. Chris Webber – $19,000,000: Wait – is he even playing this season? Oh yeah, another Billy King disaster and the tagline for this blog. Webber has the best job in the world: sit at home watching guys work their asses off in the league, contemplating which championship-contending team he will try and slither his way onto. All while still collecting checks from the Sixers. How do I sign up for that? Damn, they fired that guy in Philly who was giving out the sweet deals.
  2. Juwan Howard – $7,645,344: Playing only 8.5mpg with Dallas, getting paid over $6.8M from Minnesota and no statistics worth mentioning here, Howard is pretty much doing what his buddy Webber is. Except that he has court-side seats. What’s with these Fab-5 Michigan guys?
  3. Adonal Foyle – $10,157,090: Who the hell is Adonal Foyle? He’s getting $1.2M from Orlando currently and is owed $8.9M this season and $9.7M next season from Golden State. (Just shaking my head). This is when you know you’re overpaid: on Sportscenter, when you get in the game and actually do something productive the sportscaster says “Look, it’s an Adonal Foyle sighting!”
  4. Steve Francis – $18,870,000: 5.5ppg, 3apg, 33% fgs, 24% 3pt in 20 minutes per night with his new/old team the Houston Rockets means Steve Francis isn’t the “Franchise” any more. He is getting $2.4M from Houston and another $16.4M from Portland via the Knicks (remember the Zach Randolph trade?). So why is he still getting paid “franchise player” money?
  5. Eric Dampier – $10,590,500: He is getting paid more than Josh Howard. That makes me laugh every time I think about it. Can someone please explain to me how a starting center only averaging 6.4rpg is getting paid $10.5M? I guess when you’re a billionaire you can pay this much for a player with mediocre talent and work ethic.
  6. Michael Finley – $21,696,750: Did you know he is the 2nd-highest-paid player in the NBA? Getting about $3.1M from the Spurs and over $18M from Dallas makes Finley the most expensive token-starter in NBA history, while Manu Ginobili is the best shooting guard on the team and plays the majority of the minutes in crunch time.
  7. Kwame Brown – $9,075,000: Michael Jordan’s biggest basketball mistake – drafting this guy with the #1 pick in 2001. I will give MJ a break here because he is my favorite player. This was one of the weakest drafts in terms of clear superstar talent going in. This is the reason you make the safe pick this high in the draft as to not look like an idiot 6 years later when “potential” equals “just not that good.”
  8. Ben Wallace – $15,500,000: Really, who thinks Ben Wallace is worth this much money? Who thought he was worth this much money when he was in Detroit? Clearly not Joe Dumars if they let an important piece of a championship team go. His major contributions were rebounding and defense, and his RPG have declined every year since the ’02-’03 season. That’s 3 years of regression before he got this ridiculous deal. What exactly was Chicago thinking?
  9. Rasho Nesterovic – $7,840,000: Really? Do I need to say anything else – it’s Rasho Nesterovic! What does he do? What has he ever done?
  10. Shaquille O’Neal – $20,000,000: It’s sad to see one of the most dominant players in the NBA on this list. Considering his production has steadily declined since his first year in Miami and since he’s been unable to play 90% of a season for most of his career with the last coming in ’00-’01, it’s only fair. But I don’t really blame Shaq; this is the time in all great big men’s careers when they start to slide. At 35-years-old he’s no longer the “Big Aristotle” but the “Big Dollar Sign” getting in Dwyane Wade’s way.

Now meet the New York Knicks:

Stephon Marbury – $19,012,500: Umm, I don’t know what to say about Starbury at this point. Dude is just crazy now. This youtube video of Marbury being interviewed pretty much sums up why this guy shouldn’t be getting paid $19M. The commentary is just as hilarious.
Jerome James – $5,800,000: Never played more that 17mpg, scored more than 5ppg, grabbed more than 3rpg or shot over 51% from the field as a 7’1, 285-lb center. Enough said.
Malik Rose – $7,101,250: His 15 minutes of fame on the ’02-’03 championship Spurs team netted him this hefty contract. Since he is a born-and-raised Philly guy and I’m hometown-biased, I will leave my comment as – WHY?
Quentin Richardson – $ 8,105,500: He had an OK year his last season with the Clippers, followed that up with another OK season in Phoenix. Somehow just OK warranted $8M per year. He could be a decent role player on a team with a solid point guard (PHX) – but no way do role players get $8 million dollars.

Lebron’s supporting cast:

Larry Hughes – $12,000,084: He’s just not worth $12M. Maybe if he ever consistently lived up to his potential he would be, but he has failed to effectively be a sidekick with two future hall-of-famers. So why do teams continue to pay this guy star player money with the hope that he will live up to it?
Eric Snow – $6,703,125: One of my most-hated Sixers players ever. Now Lebron has to deal with the frustration of getting double and triple-teamed only to pass to a wide open Snow at the foul line – BRICK!

UN-honorable Mention:

  • Wally Szcerbiak – $12,000,000: I don’t know about you but I never thought Wally was that good, and he was pawned off on KG as a #2 guy. Yes, he can shoot but that’s about all you’re getting from him. No boards, assists or defense of any kind from this 6’7 player. If Kyle Korver isn’t worth $12M Szcerbiak definitely isn’t either
  • Theo Ratliff – $11,666,667: One of the most injury-prone players I have seen, having only played five 70+ game seasons in 13 years. He could have been a coveted reserve big man for a championship-caliber team the way he played defense and rebounded.
  • Brad Miller – $10,500,000: If I have Dalembert on the list I gotta have Miller. Their production is comparable; it’s just Sammy hits closer to home, and Brad doesn’t seem as dumb.
  • Samuel Dalembert – $10,251,435: Why do the 76ers have the 9th highest payroll while having the 19th best winning %? Oh yeah – Billy King thought paying Samuel Dalembert $70M+ over 6 years was a good idea. Whew! Thank God that guy is finally out of the Sixers front office. At least we’re not in as bad a shape as the Knicks.
  • Troy Murphy – $9,206,349: The numbers speak for themselves on this one. Career Stats: 11.2ppg, 7.9rpg, 0.4 bpg, and 43% fgs. Another classic example of a player having a pretty good season, getting a big paycheck, then sitting fat and happy while stinking it up for his current team.
  • Jason Williams – $8,937,500: “White Chocolate” as they used to call him. When did they start paying streetball players this kind of money? “Skip-to-my-Lou” one of the NY streetballers legends only makes $4.5M.
  • Brian Cardinal – $5,850,000: At 6’8 you can get 9ppg and 4rpg in 21mpg by accident. And that was this power forward’s best season. He has been injury-prone and balding ever since.
  • Kenny Thomas – $7,875,000: At least Billy King wised up enough to dump this dead weight.
  • Speedy Claxton – $6,306,182: This draft pick of the Sixers always baffled me. You have A.I., the BEST shoot-first little man EVER, and you go draft a vastly-worse shoot-first small guard from Hofstra? Just doesn’t make any sense.

With deals like these going around, my future kid is definitely growing up to be a ball player.

If I missed an NBA bum that you think deserves to be on the list, please let me know.