Late last month, the Golden State Warriors launched an optimistic bid to land Erick Dampier, their gawky 6-foot-11 center, on the NBA All-Star team. Dampier is an odd specimen, with his bluesman's eyes and his headbands and his socks yanked up to his knees. For seven seasons, six of them with the Warriors, he was considered a bust, a chronic underachiever who was happy to collect a paycheck but never a rebound in traffic. Last year, in a huff about playing time, he referred to his coach, Eric Musselman, as "Musselhead." This season, though, Dampier began to produce -- 14 points and 23 rebounds against the Lakers; 23 points and 22 rebounds against Memphis -- and at the end of January he was averaging 11.9 points and 11.5 rebounds, both career highs. "Other than Shaq," Musselman told Sports Illustrated a month into the season, "there's not a better center in the... More >>>
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Erick Dampier "definitely has some kind of
negative influence," Beech says.