With Dwight Howard contemplating abandoning ship this offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers must put a contingency plan in place in terms of big men.
While they currently have Pau Gasol to man the 4 and Jordan Hill likely to return in 2013-2014, the Lakers have always had an issue with depth at power forward and center. If they want to avoid an encore of their colossal letdown this past season, adding a player like DeJuan Blair should be a serious consideration for the Lakers.
At 6’7’’, 265 pounds, Blair is far from an ideal fit at the 4 or 5 in today’s NBA. Despite his small frame and unsettling height, the San Antonio Spurs forward makes up for his stature with heart and tenacity. Even with his size deficiencies, Blair manages to beat out bigger opponents in the paint with his hustle and positioning time and time again.
The Spurs tried this past season to deal Blair at the trade deadline, but failed to find a suitor. Since then, he’s shown plenty of maturity and growth as a professional, accepting his role as a bench player and making the most of the opportunities presented to him. Even when the Spurs faced off against the Lakers in the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs, the vertically-challenged Blair shined against Howard and Gasol.
Despite the Spurs’ apparent willingness to part ways with Blair, any team that plucks him up in free agency this offseason will get a steal. Blair is an underrated talent who would fit perfectly alongside Hill in the second-team lineup.
The Lakers need to start moving towards a roster that consists of hard-working, hustle players. By adding Blair to the mix, they’d be doing exactly that.