Terrace Talk: The Anchor

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Terrace Talk is a weekly column that looks at the Mavericks through the eyes of the fan.

I’m here to discuss two things.  First of which is the importance of Samuel Dalembert.

“I always said when he’s active, rebounding, blocking some shots, we’re a different team.”

That’s a quote from Dirk Nowitzki. This should be the end of the column because when Dirk says anything we should take it as Gospel and move on with our lives. But I digress …

I don’t know if this is a good thing or not, but Dallas’ success greatly hinges on the success of Samuel Dalembert, a center who made a career out of being a basketball playing nomad.  Over the last five seasons, he’s been on five different NBA teams.  This is due to the fact that he’s about as reliable as a  lottery ticket.  Dalembert frustrated the hell out of most of his coaches due to his inconsistent play and fair-weather effort. I repeat … five teams in five years. And that’s the guy who Dallas lives and dies by.

But that’s the way Dallas roles and they actually take a lot of pride in successfully relying on players like this.   Hell, their whole 2011 Championship roster was action-packed full of guys who were rejects, misfits, and losers. They really embrace this about themselves.

“I like our ability to work with what I call “fallen angels”. ” says Mark Cuban. 

Dallas is the rehabilitation center of the NBA. Most guys making their way to the metroplex have taken somewhat of a career hit due to age, bad situations, or injury. The Mavs like to clean these players up and put them back into the system of Mr. Rick Carlisle, where more often than not, they thrive. Unless of course, your name is O.J. Mayo.

It’s no surprise that the Mavericks have done the same with its current roster roster, particularly with Monta Ellis and Samuel Dalembert. It’s becoming pretty clear that the Monta experiment is both positive for him and the team. What I didn’t expect is just how badly Dallas would need Dalembert to be an impact in games. When I say need … I mean NEED.

Ready for numbers?

In Dallas wins, Dalembert averages 7.4 points, 7 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game.  When they lose, he puts up 5 points, 5 boards, and 0.8 blocks. He shoots 64.7% in wins and 48.8% in loses.

Let’s play a little game of looking at Dallas’ success in relation to Dalembert’s.  His per game numbers average to about 6 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 block.

The Mavs win 73.7% of their games when Dalembert scores more than 6 points, 76.2% when he grabs more than 6 rebounds, and 75% when he has 2 or more blocks in a game.

On the flip side …

Dallas loses 60.8% of their games when Dalembert scores less than 6 points, 60% of their games when he grabs less than 6 boards, and 55% of their games when he gets no blocks (that’s happened 20 times).

Even beyond Dalembert producing, his mere presence on the court greatly impacts the Mavs.  In Maverick wins he averages 21.8 minutes per game and in losses he averages 17.6.

All that to say, Dalembert’s personal success is critical to Dallas’ team success, which is probably why a lot of folks are doubting Dallas. And who could blame them, based on his track record? At this point it’s a contest between Carlisle’s ability to get the best out of his players vs. Dalembert’s abilities to disappoint the heck out of his team. Due to my over-the-top respect for Carlisle, I’m putting my money on coach.


The second thing I’m here to discuss is far more important. This is in regards to Dalembert’s nickname.  This has been an ever-evolving battle for me.  The name changes as the game changes.  I’ll run through some past nicknames, and where I’ve ultimately landed.

First, there was…

Sam Slam.


Mark Followill started saying it, and I was intrigued but the act of Sam Slamming is more of his move than his actual nickname.  So I tinkered with a few things and landed on…

Jean Claude Van Sam Slamm. 

Jean Claude Van Sam Slam

This felt good for a while. But then, Dalembert went through that funk that had a lot to due with his inability to wake up from a deep sleep.  This forced me to rethink the nickname.  I decided to go with…

Sambien CR.


Once he started making his way back into being a little more consistent, I felt the Sambien nickname had to go. It just didn’t seem fair.

Dalembert showed a lot of improvements, but there was still a lot of “hopeful” watching on my end.  A lot of me saying “please let the good Sam show up!”  Naturally, I landed on…

The DalemPrayer.


I felt really great about that one, until I looked at the numbers in the top half of this piece.

So, I go back to my first point. Sam Dalembert is very important to the Mavs.   The numbers prove it.  Samuel Dalembert is crucial to this team’s success and this is not something that should be taken lightly. That’s when I put pen to paper and finally landed on …

The Dalembert Necessities.

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