News traveled fast via twitter today that Samuel Dalembert might make it back for the Kings’ second game of the season in New Jersey. While this is exciting news, it also appears to be overly optimistic for a player the Kings medical staff ruled out for 4-6 weeks a little over two weeks ago. Here is Dalembert’s comment in its entirety to remove some of the confusion:
“I’m excited, it’s feeling much better. It’s feeling much better. I don’t feel as much pain as before. It’s healing. I’ll try to shoot sometime to do more tomorrow and then keep going.”
“We are about to find out, I’m about to get on the treadmill right now. So I’m about to run on the treadmill and I’ll let you guys know tomorrow. That’s the real test you know, run on the treadmill and see how you feel after that. And then tomorrow, if I feel good, if nothing is really bugging me, I’ll try to do more and then hopefully, I’ll be out there in New Jersey.”
This is the same player that told me when he initially re-injured his adductor that he could have played that day if there was an actual game. Dalembert has been working with trainers and using the chamber to get better as quickly as possible. While he has been slowed, that has not stopped him from working with Coach Carril and others on different aspects of his game.
This week, an SI article previewing the Sacramento Kings, quoted an NBA scout who had this to say about Dalembert:
Dalembert is known as the last guy to practice and the first guy to leave, and he can be a little bit loopy at times, but he’s tended to get better every year up until last season. If I had a team full of young guys, I don’t think I’d be looking to him to be the veteran leader.
Honestly, I have been at Kings training camp for all but one of the 18 days and this could not be any further from what I have witnessed. Dalembert is constantly working, even though he is not medically cleared to participate in contact drills. Not only is he working on his own game, but he takes time to share his wealth of information with Hassan Whiteside and DeMarcus Cousins. Here is a video that I took yesterday:
The scene in the clip shows Dalembert working on offensive footwork with Hassan Whiteside, while coach Pete Carril feeds the post. Specifically, Dalembert was teaching Whiteside to side shuffle step through the lane to maintain proper balance for finishing with either hand. Although he isn’t known as a stellar offensive player, Dalembert still understands the basics of both foot and body positioning. On the defensive end, he has worked with Whiteside on developing both his “man on” and “weak side” shot blocking skill.
To be a consistent weak side shot blocker, you need to understand the angles and understand where the ball is to the basket and anticipate what the other guys are doing also.
As a young player, Dalembert was able to work with Dikembe Mutumbo, perhaps the greatest shot blocker in NBA history. Dalembert considers Mutumbo a “man on” shot blocker and he is working with Whiteside to develop the skills he learned as Mutumbo’s apprentice to compliment Hassan’s advanced weak-side ability. While shot blocking is a very important skill, Dalembert is also working with the younger players on being complete defenders whocan help their team in multiple ways.
It appears that Dalembert came to the Kings with a certain reputation. To this point, I have had nothing but positives to report. The Kings are going to need Dalembert to solidify what has been a porous defense for quite some time. The Kings are also going to need Samuel to lead and nurture along the collection of young talented bigs the Kings have accumulated.