Since Manu Ginobili’s injury, the San Antonio Spurs have stayed afloat in the Western Conference with a 12-7 record. They are currently first in the Southwest Division and third in the West.
Thanks in large part to Tiago Splitter’s emergence as a legitimate NBA big.
However, Splitter is not the only one stepping up in Ginobili’s absence.
For instance, in the game against the Atlanta Hawks the entire bench gave the Spurs a big time lift.
Rookie Kawhi Leonard has earned coach Gregg Popovich’s trust because of his defensive talent and Danny Green has been a revelation, the Spurs lanky guard has played major minutes during the closing minutes on tightly contested match.
Of course, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and to a lesser extend Richard Jefferson are there to steady the Spurs.
However, with all of the media attention focused on Splitter and perhaps Leonard’s immediate impact, another player has been quietly getting the job done.
San Antonio’s third-year center has improved gradually since he wore the silver and black and this year is no different.
This season, Blair has averaged 10.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 23 minutes of playing time while shooting 53.9 percent from the floor, a marked improvement from his 50 percent field goal shooting last season.
And with just 19 games played, Blair has already scored in double figures in 11 games, including a season-high 17 in a blowout win against the Hawks.
The Spurs’ bulky big man has also recorded four double-double performances so far.
Nonetheless, he still lacks consistency. But his sheer hard work and perseverance have made most Spurs fans forget Antonio McDyess’ departure.
Yes, Duncan and Splitter are big reasons why the Spurs’ frontcourt is holding up against the other teams, but Blair is doing his part too.
The big man with the big smile, may struggled in last year’s playoff series against the Grizzlies, but he has moved on and kept focusing on improving his game and helping the team.
Last season, out of 82 regular season games, DeJuan started in 65 games playing at center.
This year, he has started in all the games so far.
He still has a lot of work to do, to polish his game, but there is no doubt that he is playing his role and is getting the job done.