Back in 2009, DeJuan Blair was an unexpected pickup by the San Antonio Spurs early in the second round because he was projected to be a lottery pick at the time he entered the draft.One reason why he fell into San Antonio’s lap was his lack of height. At 6-foot-7, Blair is an undersized power forward. Still, he was deemed to be the steal of the draft.
He did not disappoint.
In his rookie season, Blair was the only Spurs player to play all 82 regular season games. He averaged 7.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and shot 55.6 percent from the field in just 18 minutes per game.
His 55 percent clip from the floor ranked best among rookies in 2009-10 season and on top of that, he was named to the All-Rookie Second Team.
Blair provided the Spurs instant hustle, rebounding and spark from the bench.
Knowing that he has a lot to improve, Blair worked on his game over the summer to try to expand his offensive and all-around game.
It did payoff; in just his second year with the Spurs, his role got bigger. He became the team’s starting center and did a great job at it.
In 65 games as a starter, he averaged 8.8 points and 7.3 rebounds while shooting better than 50 percent from the field.
His overall numbers slightly improved from last year. In 81 regular season games, Blair averaged 8.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.0 assist. He also got better from the foul line making 65.7 percent of his freethrows compared to a woeful 54.7 percent in his rookie year.However, much like last year, Blair faded down the stretch as the Spurs turned to other options down low, cutting his playing time and touches late in the year as the Spurs inserted Antonio McDyess as the starting center.
He only played four playoff games, averaging 4.3 points, 3.3 rebounds while shooting just 33.3 percent from the floor in 12 minutes off the bench.
His lack of height continues to be a concern for the Spurs especially on the defensive end.
Nonetheless, given more consistent playing time and the right role, Blair seems to give promise to the Spurs as he continues to develop his game. He is a fine role player.
With McDyess’ possible retirement and Tim Duncan needing more help in the post, Blair together with Tiago Splitter would definitely see prominent roles in San Antonio next season.