Through all the hoopla involving the trade for Samuel Dalembert, there have been both positive and negative things said about him. He is a good defender. He's athletic. He's stupid. He can rebound. He doesn't know his limits. He's a great person. One of the things that got me thinking is the claim that his production has trailed off a little bit over the last few seasons. Looking at his numbers from last season, its easy to see what people mean since his average has somewhat decreased over the last few seasons. However, I was somewhat impressed that he was able to amass 8.1 PPG and 9.6 RBG in just about 26 minutes per game. I thought that if this is him regressing, then what was his true production like before? His best statistical season came in the 07-08 season when he averaged a double double with 10.5 PPG, 10.4 RPG, and 2.3 BPG. He has averaged less in those categories in the last 2 seasons.
When hearing the interviews with his agent Marc Cornstein and Dalembert himself, they both said that the reason his numbers regressed and the inconsistency he has shown is more the result of his inconsistent minutes, among other things. At first I thought that this is just them making excuses, so I decided to check the numbers out (something I am admittedly not used to doing). I went to basketball-reference.com and looked up his per-36 minute numbers. What I found was interesting:
Per 36 Minutes
A couple things stand out here. First, his defensive rebounding rate has increased in each of his years in the league, which stands out since he has been in the league for 8 years. His block rate has remained almost identical for the last 3 seasons. Although his PPG averages are sporadic throughout the 2nd half of his career, with the exception of 08-09, he has remained fairly consistent in that area. Looking at his scoring, his PPG seem to be dependent on his FGA per game. For example, his highest FGA year was the 06-07 season, in which he averaged about 1.34 points per shot. The next season, he averaged 1.31 points per shot. The following season, (his worst statistically in the 2nd half of his career) his points per shot average dipped to 1.19. However, last season, he came back up to 1.27 points per shot. This seems to show more or less that Dalembert is somewhat consistent with his offensive production when comparing entire seasons.
There are a couple things to mention when looking at this data. First is the fact that although Dalembert has not regressed as a player, he still hasn't improved much in the last 4 years or so. This was one of the complaints some people had of him. Although his rebounding rate increased by almost a whole rebound this last year, I think if he received more minutes the rate would regress to the mean. All in all, this shows that as long as Dalembert gets minutes, he will still produce for you. And it could be the case that if he gets more minutes, he could produce more.
This is not to say that he is consistent from game to game…I just glanced over his game logs and while they looked pretty normal, they can hardly tell the whole story. I personally think he will have a career year here, and help us win more games than we have in a few years.