The 2013-2014 season is supposed to be the year that the Dallas Mavericks return to the playoffs, but if how their preseason has started is any indication of what’s to come, then fans might not want to hold their breath.
After the Mavs opened the preseason with a loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, head coach Rick Carlisle was pretty transparent in his dissatisfaction with the shape — or lack thereof — starting center Samuel Dalembert has come into camp in.
“I just told him in front of the whole team that he’s got to keep working,” said Carlisle, who mentioned Dalembert’s conditioning issues to the media without a question being asked about the center.
“Dalembert’s got to continue to work to get in shape,” Carlisle said. “He’s just not in the condition that he needs to be in. We need him, and tonight he struggled out there, and I think a lot of it is conditioning. In the next 21, 22 days, he’s got to get to a higher level.”
Dalembert, who signed a two-year, $7.6 million contract with Dallas this summer after the Mavs failed to land Dwight Howard, of course disagrees with Carlisle’s assessment, as claims that his poor performance is due to injury rather than poor conditioning:
“It’s not that,” said Dalembert, who was fighting a relatively serious case of the sniffles. “The main thing that happened to me is I got hurt. I got hurt in the first practice of camp. Stupid me, my pride takes over and I wanted to practice. I didn’t want to take off, so that kind of slowed me down a little bit.”
“I mean, I feel fine,” Dalembert said. “I didn’t get a chance to play today. I got myself in foul trouble early on, so just have to get ready for the next game.”
Smart ploy by Dalembert to play the injury card, since it’s difficult to dispute whether or not he’s really hurt or just winded from a lack of off-season conditioning. Either way, we get the feeling this wont be the last time Dalembert and Carlisle won’t see eye-to-eye, especially considering this is Dalembert’s fifth team in the past five seasons.
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