It sure was fun hating Samuel Dalembert over the eight years he spent with the Philadelphia 76ers. Which of his tried and true tendencies did you most look forward to loathing?
Personally, I could not wait for the opportunity to mock Slammin’ Sammy after he padded his already insurmountable NBA lead in goaltending violations.
But, if the preferred object of your vitriol was the “uncontested 17-foot fadeaway”, or the “commit obvious foul and then react with an incredulous stare of disbelief”, or even the ol’ “mistime the opening tip so badly that by the time I land I can no longer reach the ball”, I sure won’t blame you.
Point is, many hated Dalembert at times, some constantly, some only most of the time. The truth is bad teams need a target at which to hurl abuse, and when it came to abuse hurling, his 6’11 frame was hard to miss.
It is this history of hatred, in my opinion, that has allowed 76ers fans to generally overlook the nearly incomprehensible idiocy that was this past summer’s Dalembert deal.
Fans keep hearing how impressed they should be by the 76ers' defensive stats this year: look how well they’re defending, and that’s without anyone who can protect the rim!
However, you know what would be better than that? If they had someone who could protect the rim!
Say what you will about Dalembert’s offensive capabilities, and say what I have about his propensity for goal tending; Dalembert is, was, and always will be (always!) a good help defender, and a solid defensive presence in the lane—something the Sixers could desperately use right now.
Elton Brand is about to become the first player since Zydrunas Ilgauskus in 2004-05 to lead his team in blocks without ever jumping once all season.
While his Dalembert’s offensive inconsistencies over the course of his career were certainly frustrating, he seemed to get it for much of last year (the “it” in question being: don’t shoot, only dunk), as evidenced by his 8 ppg and 55 FG %.
Combine those numbers with 9.6 boards and 1.8 blocks in only 26 minutes a game, and any level-headed person can admit that we’re looking at a productive statline that would surely help the current 76ers.
Let’s compare that to what the 76ers got in exchange for the big man.
The casual observer can be excused for thinking that Spencer Hawes is in the last year of a long career, going through the motions and trying to milk a last few millions out of his aging body.
Of course, Hawes is only 22 years old. That’s right, 22. Maybe he’s suffering through an usually late case of Osgood Slaughter Disease.
But, his nightly 6.5 PPG, 5 RBG and 0.8 BPG are worth about as much to our cause as the sum of the two numbers on his jersey (or the product, or the quotient, or the dividend, etc), and he’s not exactly what you might call “even mildly interesting in any way".
This past summer, Ron Artest was the guest editor for an issue of ESPN the Magazine, and in said issue he asked for an article to be written on ex-teammate Hawes.
Perhaps this was a practical joke on Ron-Ron’s part to see if he could get away with requesting and then publishing an article on such a boring person. And he did. And it was very boring.
Then there’s Andres Nocioni, a decent energy player who serves absolutely no purpose for the swingman-heavy 76ers—who need to devote as many minutes as possible to the youngsters.
Then there is this: ever notice how almost all of the trade rumors you stumble upon this time of year include at least one player who is attractive to the opposing team solely because of his expiring contract?
Well, Dalembert has got one of those.
That would’ve been a nice trading chip to have right about now, when the 76ers organization are (read: should) be doing absolutely everything in their power to turn Andre Iguodala into something more conducive to the youth movement.
Say the 76ers aren’t able to include Dalembert in a deadline deal? The cap relief come this off-season would be more than welcome.
76ers Gave: a very good defensive center with decent, if unobtrusive, offensive capabilities and an expiring contract.
76ers Got: a below-average center, both offensively and defensively, and a G/F who ideally will not play much if at all for the rest of the season (and, oh yeah, is set to make $6.6 million in 2011-12).
Therefore, unless you’re betting on the long term potential of Hawes (and if you are, for your own good, please click here), this trade made the 76ers worse in the interim and will cost them cap space in the future.
Yes, Slammin’ Sammy was fun to hate, and he didn’t always have the best attitude, and he did look a fair amount like a Portuguese Water Dog. But that’s no reason to ignore the utter idiocy that was the trade that sent him out of town.
Shame on you, Ed Stefanski, to manipulate your fanbase by hiding your ineptness behind the long, lean frame of a hated player.
And furthermore, shame on you for being so damn inept in the first place.