Center Samuel Dalembert has slipped so far down the Dallas Mavericks’ totem pole that he didn’t even play in Saturday’s blowout win over the lowly Milwaukee Bucks because of a coach’s decision.
Entering Saturday’s game, Dalembert was mired in a deep slump that has crippled his progress. In five games since collecting 12 points and seven rebounds on 6-of-7 shooting during a Nov. 30 game against Minnesota, Dalembert has just 11 points and 25 rebounds on 3-of-16 shooting.
So how do the Mavs jump-start Dalembert, who started the first 10 games this season and was one of their big off-season free-agent prizes?
“I think that’s on him,” assistant coach Monte Mathis said. “I think he’s got to jump-start himself.
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“I don’t think that’s on the coach or a player. Sam’s got to jump-start himself, and he can do it. We know what he can do.”
After Dalembert’s first 10 starts, he produced 14, 10 and 12 rebounds the next three games against Philadelphia, Houston and Utah, respectively. In the 11 games since, he’s never gotten more than seven rebounds in a game.
“I think he can be playing better,” owner Mark Cuban said. “I just don’t think he’s been in a position where he’s been expected to perform to help a team win since his first one or two years.
“So I think this is a new situation for him and hopefully he’ll perform.”
The Mavs are hoping the return of Brandan Wright, who made his season debut Saturday after being sidelined with a small fracture of his left shoulder, will help Dalembert get refocused.
“Sam will do better,” Cuban said. “I think having Brandan will help too, to take some of the pressure off of him.”
Mavs aware of Ebanks
The Mavs are well aware of the 43 points and 14 rebounds Texas Legends forward Devin Ebanks collected in Friday’s 125-116 victory over the defending D-League champion Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
“The only word to describe it is Barea-esque,” Cuban said. “I didn’t see it, but that’s the last call-up that we had that was in the 40s.”
Cuban was referring to guard J.J. Barea, who, while playing for the then Fort Worth Flyers of the D-League, tallied 43 and 41 points in consecutive games in January 2007.
Ebanks, who was in the Mavs’ training camp in October, was 16 of 26 from the field against the Vipers, including 8 of 14 from 3-point range. So, are the Mavs prepared to give Ebanks another look?
“If Devin does back-to-back [40-point games], now we’re talking,” Cuban said. “Eight for 14 on 3s, that’s not bad.
Cuban would draft QB
Cuban got a kick out of the Texas Rangers selecting Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson on Thursday in the Rule 5 draft.
“I thought it was fun,” said Cuban, one of two finalists to buy the Rangers in 2010. “If [the NBA] had more rounds I’d draft him.”
Asked if Wilson is now the best quarterback in DFW, Cuban said: “Absolutely not. I like Tony Romo.”