Since the New York Knicks traded Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to the Dallas Mavericks many Knicks fans have talked about the impact of Jose Calderon. Others have fallen in love with Shane Larkin. Some have even discussed how Wayne Ellington could fit into the system. However, no one is talking about Samuel Dalembert. In the end, he may become the Knicks x-factor next season.
Rarely does a player comes to a new team looking to play a similar role as his predecessor. However, with defensive-minded Tyson Chandler gone and new addition Samuel Dalembert in town, the Knicks are hopeful their new veteran center can replicate some of the early success their former Defensive Player of the Year big man had early on during his time in New York.
Dalembert has never been much of an offensive player. However, it's not like Chandler was either. The Knicks aren't exactly taking that much of a back-step in that department. That being said, Dalembert has plenty of reason to hope for a similar influence on a Knicks defense.
The 6-11, 250 pound center has averaged 7.8 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game during his 12 year career. Compare that to the 7'1", 235 pound Chandler's career averages of 8.7 points, 9.1 boards and 1.3 blocks a game in his 13 year career.
Those are extremely comparable numbers. Ones that you could arguably say favor the Knicks being that Chandler is scheduled to make $14,596,888 next season while Dalembert will make $3,867,282. Is Chandler really $11 million better than Dalembert?
Dalembert is the kind of player who tries to control the paint on the defensive end of the floor. New York won’t count on him to do much more than protect the rim and score on the occasional pick-and-roll.
Honestly, his skill set doesn't translate well to the triangle offense. He's not exactly a big man with lots of post-up moves, passing abilities or his jump shooting. However, the traditional-style big man can still play a major role on this team.
New York has dealt with their fair share of injuries in recent years. Although Dalembert isn't exactly known for playing every game of the season he could be a valuable roster member with the health histories of both Amare Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani. If either or both go down, which is likely, the Knicks will need Dalembert to have any chance to make it back to the playoffs.
Dalembert's agent, Marc Cornstein, told Marc Berman of The New York Post that his health is more reliable than most give him credit for. Something the Knicks will surely value.
“I never like to say it for superstitious reasons, but the past decade he’s been the most durable center in basketball, been an ironman and knows how to play hurt,’’ Cornstein said.
With the Knicks cap situation, the center market was extremely slim for them. That's what makes the Knicks decision to keep Dalembert an easy one. He has way too many skills to get rid of him with the potential problems could face in their frontcourt.
Dalembert's the type of the big man who doesn’t do too much, but he certainly gets the job done. He's a perfect center for the Knicks during this transition period for the franchise. He's a veteran with a well known reputation in the league. He’s a competitor, that's what the Knicks need at this point.
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