March 3, 2015

Sammy Talking Reckless – And He’s Right!

So Sammy is talking – already!

I just had a quick conversation with Pete about this.  I’ll just come right out and say it, Pete and anyone else that jumps on Sammy because of these comments are dead wrong – period.

Like I told Pete, Sam is right.

You can’t openly call him the “X-factor” and then not play him.  That makes no sense at all and if I was in his shoes I would feel the same way.  Did you listen to what he said? Or did you just see he was talking about minutes and your hatred did what it always does and clouds the sound reasoning you have?

He talked about playing defense and rebounding.  He said that is what his job is and he can’t do that on the bench.  Umm, that sounds pretty accurate to me.

He was upset, last season because he played the least minutes of his career (and the team didn’t do any better year over year because of it might I add).  As a player I would be upset about getting less minutes as well.  Especially considering when you look at his per 36 minute stats and his advanced rebounding numbers from last season you will see that Sam actually had a career year, had a very good year in terms of shot blocking AND took the 2nd least shots per 36 minutes in his entire career.

I do have a problem with his turnover rate vs. low usage rate.  He was 14th in turnovers per 48 among centers last season.  That is not good considering how little touches he gets.  But that is far outweighed by his consistency in rebounding the ball and blocking shots.

I think Brian at the Depressed Fan shares my take on this:

So, what do you think?  Sammy getting started with the griping already?  You could look at it that way.  Or you could listen to what he says, then look at the evidence (Sam fouled out of 2 games, and collected 5 personal fouls in 8 others. That leaves 72 games where fouls should not have severely limited his minutes) and realize that he’s 100%, nail-on-the-head, sure as shit correct.  If/when Sam starts bitching about touches on offense, I’ll be the first to jump down his throat, but what he’s saying in this video makes perfect sense.

I concur with Brian and said the same thing to Pete, if Sam starts bitching about shot attempts and being more involved in the offense we have a problem.

We do not have a problem when a guy says I want more minutes so I can play defense and rebound.

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  1. Dannie says:

    You know it’s Sixers time when Sammy is in the media.

  2. deepsixersuede says:

    I have no problem with that, we have been saying this ourselves, he gets 2 fouls and disappears which, with Theo behind him was less of an issue but now we!ll see.

  3. tk76 says:

    My problem is not with Sam asking for more consistent minutes.

    My problem is that he chose media day as his opportunity to publicly whine.  He has a new coach.  Why is he starting out by complaining about last year?  He comes off as a thin skined whiney primadonna, even if he has a legit beef about his irregular minutes.

    Speights had incredibly irregular minutes last year (likely because of his sub par defensive effort.)  Lots of players have irregular minutes- but media day is not the right forum.

    All I know is that Sam often complains about his role at times when everyone else is upbeat- like during winning streaks and media day.  He is in his own little world, where he admittedly has focussed on ball handling and jump shooting this summer- in addition to Scuba diving.  He sees himself as aa Chris Bosh held back by oppressive coaches.  If only he had a chance to showcase his fancy ball handling…

    I’ve stood up for Sam before.  he is a solid defensive player who overcomes poor fundamentals with innate athleticism and the ability to grab boards in traffic.  But his attitude towards his role and the team have always been suspect.  he is an odd bird-which his fine, except when he puts his skewed view of his skill set before the team.

    Nothing wrong with the basis of his point made yesterday.  He would benefit from a more consistent role.  But his timing and the overall tenor of his complaints does not sit well, especially when put in the light of his career.

  4. Dannie says:

    TK76 – My problem with your comment is why are you focusing on Sam here when the reporter is the one who asked the question and brought up this topic on media day?

    Sam answered the question he was asked honestly and pretty accurately.

    AND it comes after Stefanski publicly called him the x-factor so it’s not even like this came out of nowhere.  If anything it’s in response to the expectations that were publicly placed on him a few days earlier.

    Further it’s “media day.” That means public interviews and quotable comments.  When else would he make a comment like this?  I don’t get your point on media day being this special day either.

    I gotta be honest I get a little annoyed when ppl attack the player for answer the question (which sadly is part of his required duty as a player) when players are always poked and prodded by reporters looking to start controversy.

    Take for instance the T.O. interview after the Bills lost and he didn’t have a catch. They tried super hard to get him to throw his coach, offensive coordinator and quarterback under the bus and got an attitude with him when he decided not to directly answer the question and even went so far as to twist his words around just to start something up.

    Sam answered the question he was asked what else is he suppose to do? Lie? He can’t not answer – it’s media day!

  5. tk76 says:

    Sam should have limitted his remarks/complaints to:

    “All I wanted to do was be the best at what I do, which is rebounding and defense.”  Maybe been a bit tactful with something along the lines of- I am glad they see me as the “X-Factor” and with consistent minutes I can really make a positive impact…

    Everyone else brought a positive attitude and a fresh start outlook.  Sam brought his grudge.

    Again, you have to view what Sam says(or T.O. for that matter) in context of their prior statements, actions and personality.  Sure I’m biased viewing Sam’s seemingly benign statements.  But IMO it is a fair bias built on years of following him as a player and a character.  I don’t hate Sam, but I’m not about to cut him much slack.

  6. Pete says:

    That T.O. press conference was pathetic. The definition of lazy journalism, a perfect example of why I felt inclined to start a sports blog where people can have intelligent, original conversations. Those sports writers should be embarrassed.

  7. tk76 says:

    I do hate the whole circus  mentality that turns sports into a mini O.J. trial.  But on the flip side personalities like T.O. live for the controversy and attention it brings.  As pathetic as that T.O, baiting was, in reality it was more T.O. being frustrated that he wasn’t in the mood to vent.  Given a different time and place T.O. would have loved to opening to spew some venom.

    It’s hard to say if the players or media are more to blame for the circus.  But neither come off clean.

    BTW, I’m not putting Sam anywhere near the same league as T.O.  Sam is self absorbed and quirky, but not a walking 3 ringed circus like some.

  8. The Greek says:

    Dannie, that was one hell of a bashing that you gave me.  And I am one of your most loyal readers, I check on your blog every day in the offseason. 
    A little over the top, no?

  9. Dannie says:

    Greek – This post?  Or my comment on the other post?

    Either way I treat everyone the same for the most part, from Pete to loyal readers or passersby who comment.  If I don’t agree, you’ll know it.  If I agree, you’ll know it.

    I wasn’t bashing you.   I responded to your comment on what we should be writing on our blog, pointed out an observation I’ve had regarding your Sixers commentary on this blog, issued you a challenge AND complied with your request by posting something on the Sixers less than 5 hours after you asked for it.

    Over the top?  Yeah.  I could have just ignored you. But that wouldn’t have been nice.

  10. Brian says:

    Needless to say, I agree. This wasn’t Sam coming out of nowhere to say he’s “not having fun out there” in the middle of a winning streak. This was a direct, honest and accurate answer to a direct question from a reporter. Period.

    I don’t see it as a downer. I see it as Sam saying basically the same thing Jordan and Stefanski have been saying. Clean slate. I also think it’s fair to respond that he actually did perform last season, but his minutes were jerked around. Because he did, and they were.

    Comparing Sam’s minutes to Speights’ is kind of short-sighted. Speights was a rookie with severe defensive issues. Sam was a starter for several seasons prior, whose production on the floor was actually better than ever, yet he still saw his minutes shrink. On top of that, the coaches basically blamed Sam for his minutes with a B.S. excuse that he couldn’t stay out of foul trouble.

  11. Ryan F says:

    He wasn’t disrespectful or pointed the finger at anyone.  He can say what he wants and he was being honest.  I’ve never been a huge fan of him or his personality, but I do know that we are a better basketball team when he’s on the floor, no matter how many shitty outlets he throws or put-backs he misses.  He’s frustrating as hell most nights but he has a skill the rest of the team doesn’t have and he should see minutes if he’s on the roster.

  12. Ryan F says:

    Greek – We’re all internet philly chums here.  We all have our own opinions, and we all get a little bit a sand in our Va JJ when swimming at the beach.  It’ll be alright, don’t fret.  That’s what sport discussions are all about, cursing at your friends over beers, no?

  13. Morty says:

    How about the fact that now, all of a sudden, the beat reporters are reporting that Brand’s surgically repaired Achilles calf is much smaller than than the other – where was that reporting last year?? This suddenly explains a lot regarding Brand’s lack of explosiveness, and opens the door to questions about what we should realistically expect from Brand’s going forward, and Stefanski’s decision to sign him. Pretty big deal in my opinion.

  14. Brian says:

    I’d like to talk to an sports doctor about this phenomenon. Could be that it’s just a fact of life after Achilles surgery and doesn’t mean much about explosiveness. Still eager to see him on the floor and see how he looks before I make any judgments. All accounts say he’s in great shape.

  15. Morty says:

    Brain: all accounts last year said Brand was in great shape and 100% ready to go. Obviously that was 1 part bunk, and 1 part reporters either not doing their jobs, or swallowing (as opposed to burying) the lead. I’m very far from a sports doctor, but these revelations don’t inspire much confidence in me.

  16. Morty says:

    Sorry for the typo “Brian.”

  17. The Real Rob says:

    This time, Dalembert does have a point and was simply answering questions asked from the media.  People keep saying Brand is the key to this season for the Sixers.  That’s true, but Dalembert is my pick as the key. Brand’s work ethic is one I would never question at all!   If  Dalembert can play his best and be consistent on both ends and understand/accept his role, this team will be a LOT better!  Eddie Jordan  should get the Coach of the Year if he can get this team playing better, including Dalembert! 


  18. jkay says:

    gotta love Sammy for giving this almost dead Sixers blog something excitable. lol.  preseason game coming up soon, we’ll see how they look.
    ohh and I agree with Dannie – he was right

  19. tk76 says:

    So for this season how would you distribute the 96 minutes at PF and C?

  20. Pete says:

    this is my contribution… (from the Inquirer today)

    At one point, after giving more quotes about why he needs extended playing time, Samuel Dalembert was walking off the Wachovia Center floor when he saw two little girls doing splits. So he joined them. Ever see a 6-foot-11 center do a full split that the most flexible cheerleaders couldn’t pull off? That’s a stop-and-stare moment right there.

  21. Dannie says:

    TK76 – Here is Pete’s breakdown of how the Sixers minutes should be distributed.

    I don’t at all agree with it.  I would say something like this:

    Brand – 35-37 minutes at power forward
    Sammy – 32-34 minutes at center

    The rest of the guys are based on performance.

    I have absolutely no read on Brezec or Jason Smith.  I don’t know what they can give us at this point.  Speights’ minutes need to be based on his rebounding and defensive effort and his offensive contributions second. 

    Here are my questions:

    1. Who doesn’t dress?
    2. Who will be DNP coaches decision?
  22. jkay says:

    Pete: lol. Sammy gives you good value for your money eh!

  23. tk76 says:

    This quote from Tom moore:
    “Jordan on Willie Green: “First of all, his teammates look at him as a leader. That’s very big in my book. He leads by example and verbally. He’s going to be there. He’s one of the top three guards (we have).”"

  24. Dave T says:

    Just thought I’d way in with my two cents:

    ABSOLUTELY think Sammy D-Bert is 100% in the right for what he’s saying.  I’ve been saying the same mantra with Sammy the past decade, and it will not be changing anytime soon:  DALEMBERT NEEDS MINUTES.  PERIOD. He has a zillion flaws in his offensive game and can be the single most frustrating player on our team…we’ve all talked about this to death.

    But if there’s one thing that keeps getting proven again and again, it’s that Dalembert plays well when the coach shows trust in him and lets him stay out there to play through his mistakes.  Sam gets pouty and whiney and is a negative influence on the team when he is kept on a short leash and immediately punished when he makes a mistake or is a bit lackadaisacal.  This is a guy that should not be averaging less then 32 mpg.  Ever.  As frustrating as he is, and with all his flaws, we are a better team when he is out there, and I’d rather a coach or teammates verbally chew him out when he makes mistakes, rather then just yank him. The one year he was allowed to play consistently, Sam put up a double double and three blocks.  Nuff said.

  25. tk76 says:

    “This is a guy that should not be averaging less then 32 mpg.  Ever. ”

    Dave T, just as an FYI, for his 7 year career Sam has averaged over 27 minutes per game only twice: 33 mpg in ’07-8 and 31 MPG in 06-’07.

    I agree in the past he has been a vital part of their interior defense.  There were seasons where Sam was their only reliable rebounder and deterrent in the lane.  His lack of minutes early in his career was often a result of foul trouble- but that has been less an issue the last 3 years.

    He might become a bit less vital with a healthy Brand and if Speights or Smith improve.  But at this point we have to hope Sam can be out there as much as possible without killing the new rhythm on offense.  As long as Sam does not try to do too much he will be fine- but that is not exactly a given with Sam.

  26. Morty says:

    tk76: I saw that quote re Green, and while it does speak highly of his character that his teammates respect him so highly, it does not speak highly of the Sixers roster that their coach considers Green one of their 3 best guards.

    Regarding Sammy, turnovers and the occasional dumb shot aside, he is a net plus when he’s on the court, and there is nobody else on this roster who can rebound and block shots the way he can.

  27. Dannie says:

    Morty – That is exactly what I said when this whole Willie Green conversation flared up.  It does speak to Willie’s character but it also speaks to the overall perception of talent on this roster as well.

    Most people and metrics have suggested Willie Green is one of if not THE least productive starter in the NBA the last few years.

    We really didn’t bring in a pure shooting guard and the rookie we drafted is 19 years old, unproven, coming off a subpar fresh year at UCLA and has a lot of questions.

    Willie is going to play unless someone else really shows the coaches something in practice and in games.

  28. deepsixersuede says:

    Morty, I believe it was said in the article that Elton!s calf muscle was 1 1/2  inches smaller last year and only a 1/2 inch smaller now, I take that as a positive going into this season. As far as Willie, I believe he had a better year in the N.B.A. last year than Jrue had in the N.C.A.A. . I think Willie is a solid 10 minute bench guy and that is what he will probably get this year, battling Royal and Rodney for courttime and Jrue having to fight for minutes should only add to his furiousity on the defensive end. Dannie, what do you think of Jason playing the 4 and Marreese playing the 5 on the 2nd unit as being reported ?

  29. Duracorr says:

    I’m happy to see some positive comments about Sammy.  His performance per minute last year was about the same as the year before, but Di Leo kept cutting his minutes.  While his turnovers frustrate me, his rebounding and interior defense should keep him on the court for 30-32 minutes.  The Sixers always seemed to do better when he was on the court.  I kept wondering why the coach didn’t see that.

    I think that Carney is going to be the surprise player this year, ending up as the first wing player off the bench, particularly if his shot continues to improve.

  30. Dannie says:

    Suede – 4 vs. 5 doesn’t matter at all really.  Actually positions in general don’t matter much at all to me.  It’s about match-ups, skillset, style and physique of the player and how (if at all) the offense utilizes players based on position.

    For example if Jason and Speights are in and they are “calling” Smith the power forward and Speights the center but on the defensive end Jason defends the opposing team’s designated center does all this talk about position matter?

    What else is being reported?  Does Eddie Jordan’s system position the center and power forward differently?  Will the center and power forward get different shot attempts?  Does Eddie Jordan envision Speights matching up with opposing centers defensively more so than Jason? Etc. 

    That is the type of “reporting” that would drive real conversation among fans but clearly no one either bothers or has a clue to report that.  Which is EXACTLY why bloggers need access to the team like the writers have.

  31. tk76 says:

    I seem to recall the P.O. basic positions are C, F and G.  The C plays a key high post passing role, while the forwards do a lot of posting and shooting and the guards do more cutting and ball handling (and shooting.)  So, yes, I think the C and PF have differing roles in this system.

    That said, the skill sets of these particular PF and C’s makes me think they all will play some of each position based on match-ups and skill sets.

  32. Dannie says:

    Based on that having Speights at Center makes less sense to me.  I’d much rather have Speights posting and shooting and Smith off the block.

    Now that’s considering neither has exception passing skills.  The only reason for putting Speights at the top of the key and not more on the block would be because they think he is a better passer. From a 15 jump shooting perspective Smith and Speights are probably about the same – right?

  33. The Real Rob says:

    So far, Carney and Dalembert have been a part of Eddie Jordan’s “Honor Roll”!  That is good news right there!

  34. deepsixersuede says:

    Danny, I think I have the same question as you, what things gave K.Fagen the idea that Jason was the 4 and Marreese the 5, who they covered defensively or are the responsibility!s offensively of the two positions that distinguishable?

  35. tk76 says:

    I think Speights is at center because he is being groomed to replace Sam as the starter next to Brand.  T. Moore said Speights put on some weight to get up to 258 (I may have the exact number wrong.)  As for Smith, I don’t remember what type of passer he is.  Don’t think he is bad at it.

    As a passer Speights makes quick decisions.  The ball is in and out of his hands quickly.  That does not make him a great passer per say, but does help maintain offensive flow and will be important in this offensive scheme.

    This is one of my concerns with Sam.  He overthinks and holds onto the ball or tries to make a fancy pass.  Sam can actually pull off some creative passes, but I’d rather see him make quick, simple pases.  Hopefully we will see improvement from Sam in this are- given this is the first coaching staff that is really working with him on his passing.  Would be great to see Sam actually add something to his game ;)

  36. Dannie says:

    Suede – And the problem is a person with access like Fagan has can easily answer questions like that.  So either she doesn’t know or care what her audience wants to know about the team or she is just going through the motions.

    There is a enough reporting out there for the casual fan to get their general information about the team.  But she has a dedicated Sixers blog the conversation and coverage should be more indepth.

  37. Dannie says:

    TK76 – Which is why I wonder if it wouldn’t be best to have Sam on the block and short corner in this offense a majority of the time.  It will limit his decision-making and passing situations and keep him in prime rebounding/alley oop and dunking position.

    Have Brand playing the Chris Webber role/position circa 1999-2002 in Sacramento.  His number during those seasons were phenomenal in terms of his scoring, rebounding, passing and field goal %.  Have Brand as the focal point at the elbows and top of the key making decisions on passing to cutters, potentially dump down high low to Sam if he has a clear dunk opportunity and allow him to shoot his face up shot, use his dribble penetration and quickness and mix in some post up opportunities depending on match-ups.

    Make Brand the centerpiece in terms of facilitating the P.O.

    Also I really don’t know what is all the fuss about Sam working on his jump shooting.  I’d prefer it over any other offensive development.  I won’t go so far as to pigeon hold anyone and say it’s too late to learn something new that is a bit tougher to get a handle on like post offense.  But I think that would be wasted development time in Sammy’s case because he will never get the touches in games to make any post offensive improvement worth it.

    Where he could impact the offense positively is if he can hit the short corner jumper with consistency, increase his free throw % and his elbow jumper FG%.  These are where we want him taking shots.  These are simple positions on the floor and easier/uncontested shot attempts for Sam.

    This is been my point of emphasis for the second half of his time in Philly.  Why aren’t they just developing him into a 15-17 foot set shooting center.  Why is there even discussion about post play.  It’s a waste of development time and practice reps in the scope of what actually happens in games.

  38. tk76 says:

    You make a good point, but my knowledge of the P.O. isn’t enough to really know how much they can expand Brand’s role.  It sounds like the read & react/PO type schemes are pretty flexible based on the strengths on your roster.  Then again, the only successful teams seem to be the ones with good bigs- but that is the case with most systems.

  39. Dave T says:

    Dannie: I agree with your statement about using Brand as a C-Webb type player in the high and mid post during his Sacramento days.  This is what frustrated me to NO end last year at the beginning of the season when Mo “way too nice to be a coach” was still there.  Brand is an excellent passer and understands court spacing and how to find cutters; yet he’d get the ball, and everyone stood still, causing him to make awkward decisions.

    This is why I REALLY think Brand and Iguodala will benefit most from EJ’s system of motion offense: weakside cutters.  You cannot ask for a better trio of athletes on our team at the F spots then Iguodala, Thad and Speights.  If Brand is co-piloting the PG position from the high-mid post, we have the talent, quickness and size to out work and out smart teams in a half court offense given our athleticism and someone with the savvy of Brand with the ball in his hands in the middle.

    Having Kapono and Carney sitting in the corners are nice options as well (still wish we would have gone for R Butler as well though…I’ll take defense, rebounding and 3 point shooting over one dimentional 3 point shooting any day though).

  40. The Greek says:
  41. bski says:

    Thanks for the link, Greek.  You’re right, it’s a great read.  I’m still in baseball mode and haven’t been paying much attention to the Sixers yet.  This article condenses some good quotes and insights that give you a sense of how things appear to be fleshing out already. (cover your eyes NOW:  don’t think I like the idea of Thad at the 4 though, based on last year.  I wonder who “some around the team” are.)

    Tom Thibodeau did not get a head coaching job (again), right?  Maybe there is a reason why and maybe EJ will be the guy to get us moving in the right direction.  Gotta give him a chance, clean slate and all that…at least for the first 10 games of the season anyway. :-)

  42. Dave T says:

    Elton Brand’s quote about the difference between last year’s team under Mo/DiLeo and how they are running their half court offenses with EJ are very telling.  

  43. Johnnylaptop says:

    Sixers have there first win in Pre-season,feels good.  It was great to see Lou’s stats so promising.  Theres alot of talent on this team. Some players need some work but I think Jordan will straighten them out or he’ll cut there playing time. Looks like Jordan better address the free throws, and fix this before the real season begins  Feels good to win  GO SIXERS


  1. [...] has video (and reaction to it) of Sammy talking about how he can not do his job from the bench.  It’s hard to disagree with that [...]