The Dallas Mavericks made attempts, as I’ve talked about before, to get quite a few big-name centers heading into the 2013-14 NBA season. They attempted to land Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum and even Greg Oden on his comeback, but the fighting Mark Cubans came up empty in all of those ventures.
As a result of missing out on the big-name guys that were available in free agency, the Mavs elected to grab two role player centers, as well as re-signing Brandan Wright. Those two guys were veteran center Samuel Dalembert and fifth-year big man DeJuan Blair. Dalembert has been alright as the starter, but Blair has been incredibly impressive off of the bench.
Blair showed off his contributions to this team on Saturday night as the Mavs took on the Orlando Magic. In 25 minutes off of the bench, Blair accrued 18 points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block while shooting 7-9 from the field. While he was on the floor, he also had a plus-minus rating of +18.
Blair hasn’t been a big-time scorer for the Mavericks this season, but he’s been contributing well all over the floor. In the first nine games of the season before Saturday night, Blair was averaging 8.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 2.2 steals in 21.3 minutes per game while shooting 53.7 percent from the floor.
Dallas probably isn’t going to have an All-Star center in Blair, but having a player that contributes on both ends of the floor in a positive manner is huge for a team trying to build a rapport with one another. That gives them a reserve that they can trust. As the Mavs look good early on this season, Blair is a reason why and will certainly figure into any future success that they have.