“I want the team to be one of the top defensive teams. I’ve been to so many training camps and seen coaches focusing on offense, offense, offense. We came here and I’m like, ‘Wow.’ I wanted to hug coach (Scott Skiles).
For the first time in seven years, the Milwaukee Bucks starting center isn’t Andrew Bogut. This is something we all need to accept and move past. We need to look forward! To fun! And wins! And Samuel Dalembert! Woooooooo!
Last year, Dalembert was very productive in limited minutes. In just 22 minutes per game for Houston, Dalembert was one of only five centers to average over 7.5 PPG, 7.0 RPG and 1.5 BPG while shooting over 50% (the others were Andrew Bynum, Dwight Howard, Marcin Gortat and Javale McGee). He was 6th in defensive rebounding percentage (24%), 5th in offensive rebounding percentage (12.5%) and 3rd in block percentage (5.7%). Per 36 minutes, he ranked 10th among centers in points per game, 6th in rebounds per game and 2nd in blocks.
And he did all of this while playing less minutes than Byron Mullens.
Per 36 minutes, Dalembert averaged 12.2 points on 50.6% shooting, grabbed 11.4 rebounds and blocked 2.8 shots with a 16.9 PER. In 2009-10, his most prolific season as a Buck, per 36 minutes, Bogut averaged 17.7 points on 57.7% shooting, grabbed 11.3 rebounds and blocked 2.8 shots with a 20.7 PER. So he isn’t exactly on par with the version of Bogut that had fans dreaming of big things and crowning the franchise with a bright future, but he isn’t worlds behind that guy either. Defensively he’s pretty close to that level. The drop off comes more on the offensive end. And in the form of minutes.
That’s really the major flaw with the 31-year-old Dalembert. He physically can’t play long minutes on a nightly basis. Since 2008 he hasn’t averaged more than 26 minutes per game, so don’t expect to see anything more than that from him here in Milwaukee. Of course, Milwaukee is kind of used to centers being unavailable at this point. That’s why the Bucks collected big men like trading cards this off season. They’re prepared for Dalembert’s minutes to be limited, but their hopeful his general run of good health will continue: Dalembert has missed just three games over the past six seasons.
Basically the Bucks have added a top 10 center in the league for one half a game. The other half will have to be filled by Larry Sanders, Ekpe Udoh, Joel Przybilla and possibly John Henson.