Erick Dampier has played really well for two stretches in his career. Both of them came when his contract was about to run out. It's not a coincidence. Look at this. Which two years jump out? He was a free agent the following year both times.
Historically a low percentage scorer, Dampier has improved mightily in this category by finally accepting that he shouldn't take any shots. His offense now consists of putbacks, gimmes, and dunks off of guards penetrating and dropping the ball off to him. That's probably for the best, as Erick was never Mr Post Move. Dampier's free throw stroke is poor, his hands worse, he has no passing game, and his ability to create in post pretty non-existent. He improved as an offensive player when he accepted these limitations and stopped doing anything. (That is, with the exception of the contract year pushes. He could score then.)
It's the other end where he does his work. Dampier is a good rebounder and decent shot blocker, albeit with a wee bit of a foul problem. He stays in the paint and challenges anyone who come near him, with the strength, timing and aggression to break up the play of anyone who dared venture toward him. It was these virtues that got him paid, not the offense.
Dampier also once proclaimed himself to be the second best center in the NBA, thereby bringing joy to the masses. He did this at the height of his powers (2004), during the midst of his second and most successful big contract push. It wasn't true even then, though, and having subsequently regressed back to his previous form, Dampier looked a bit of a fool. Still, good fun.
As an aside, if you look, you'll notice that Erick Dampier has an alarmingly, disproportionally, lockjawingly small head. It's weird and indeed ironic that the man renouned for his aforementioned display of egotism can have such a small head.
- 5th March, 2009.