Big man DeJuan Blair is headed from Southern Texas to Northern Texas after leaving the San Antonio Spurs to sign with the division rival Dallas Mavericks. Blair spent a total of four seasons with the Spurs, averaging 7.8 points per game.
Blair was a well-regarded college player who slipped into the second round of the 2009 NBA draft, where the Spurs picked him up. As a rookie, Blair immediately made an impact, starting 23 games and averaging eight points and six rebounds per game. In fact, Blair started at least 16 games each year for the Spurs, totaling 166 over the past four seasons.
Blair’s best attribute is his prolific rebounding. He had multiple 20-point, 20-rebound games in his rookie season, and has a career rebound rate of 17.8 percent. He also has nice touch around the rim, and has even added a somewhat effective floater to his offensive arsenal.
So why did the Spurs let Blair go to the rival Mavs for the veteran minimum?
Well, he has clear flaws, the main one being his size. He’s listed at 6-foot-7, but is probably not even that tall. It’s a good size for a small forward or shooting guard, but Blair plays in the paint. He doesn’t make up for his lack of size with athleticism, nor does he have a very large wingspan. Blair struggles mightily on the defensive end primarily because he is so undersized.
This is why Blair fell out of the Spurs’ rotation over the past few seasons, and was only offered veteran minimum contracts this offseason. And this is why, despite his offensive abilities, Blair will never play starters minutes in the NBA.
Still, I think Blair is a nice pickup for the Mavs. He will likely come off the bench and provide the Mavs with solid rebounding and inside scoring. I just hope they don’t ever play Blair and Dirk Nowitzki at the same time, because that would be a disaster defensively. If utilized correctly, Blair will provide the Mavs with some valuable frontcourt depth this season.