As the Dallas Mavericks are beginning to assert themselves yet again as a contender in the Western Conference, it is becoming clear that Mark Cuban did indeed do a great job in adding to the roster this past offseason. Getting guys like Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon and Samuel Dalembert have done wonders for this rejuvenated Mavs team. But, there’s been one addition that’s stuck out even beyond those three: Backup big man DeJuan Blair.
Believe it or not, Blair has the third-highest PER on the team next to Dirk Nowitzki and Ellis. That’s impressive, considering he’s coming off the bench. Many people questioned what kind of player he was, and could be, but this year with the Mavs he’s proving he can indeed be an efficient one after all.
The area where Blair is doing some damage, and is a big reason why the Mavs are putting up so many points, is on the offensive boards. Blair has averaged 7.0 rebounds per game in just 20 minutes, and 3.1 of those are on the offensive end. What’s so shocking about that figure is that it’s good for first on the team, higher than both Nowitzki and Shawn Marion combined. Again, he’s not even a starter.
Blair has also shot the ball very well when he’s taken the attempts. On the season, he’s 53 percent from the field and has averaged 8.4 points. But, his scoring and rebounding aren’t the most impressive thing I’ve seen from him this year.
If you were to guess which player was leading the Mavs in steals this season, what would your first guess be? Ellis? Calderon? Marion? All of those guesses would be wrong — it’s Blair. His hustle on the defensive side of the ball has shone through in the first few weeks of the season and he’s put up an average of 1.79 steals each night.
The Mavs have gotten solid minutes out of Blair to begin the season and I’m sure he’s as excited as they are about his hot start. With the West being so fun to watch and full of some very talented rosters, this Mavs team will continue to lean on guys like Blair to be an X-factor as the season goes on. Proving to be a very valuable signing, Blair will continue to make the most of this opportunity with Dallas and I can guarantee you, the fans are thrilled.