3-on-3: What the Spurs have with DeJuan Blair

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Photo credit: The Brit_2

This week’s edition of 3-on-3 features a trio of questions about Spurs big man DeJuan Blair. He was the steal of the draft two years ago when the Spurs plucked him in the second round of the 2009 NBA Draft. Since making his debut for the Spurs, there’s been some ups and not so ups for Blair. A starter at the beginning of last season, Blair gradually fell out of favor and was replaced by Antonio McDyess in the starting lineup near mid-season. It appeared Blair’s confidence had eroded with the switch and his impact on the floor lessened severely.

Entering his third NBA season, Blair faces some serious questions about his future with the Spurs. He’s got two years left on a very salary cap friendly rookie contract, but if he doesn’t continue to improve it’s not out of the question to see him moved as a part of a larger trade package. Today three 48MoH bloggers take a look at Blair’s current standing with the Spurs.

1. How much potential does DeJuan Blair really have?

Timothy Varner, 48 Minutes of Hell: DeJuan Blair could become a much more useful player with the addition of a reliable pick and pop game. Defensively, the grit and guile of experience will eventually help to mitigate against his height, but he’s always going to be a 6’7” center. All in, he’s currently 75% of the player he could be.

Graydon Gordian, 48 Minutes of Hell: Blair will never been an all-star, but he’s capable of evolving into a highly competent role player who contributes on both ends. He’ll most likely never be an elite defender — he lacks the height — but as he gets wiser, his defense will improve. His motor, length and core strength have already helped him become a borderline-elite rebounder.

Andrew McNeill, 48 Minutes of Hell: Blair’s lack of height puts a strict ceiling on his potential in the NBA. He has all the ability to carve out a long career in the NBA, especially if he can master a mid-range jump shot, but his size puts a cap on him as a off-the-bench big man on a contender.


2. Are his positives (motor, rebounding) enough to outweigh his negatives (short, no jumper)?

Timothy Varner, 48MoH: It depends whom the other team has on the floor. Some nights, the answer is a definitive “no”. Other nights, it’s a decided “yes”. Unfortunately, the thing that most sharply differentiates one night from another is the line that separates the regular season from the playoffs.

Graydon Gordian, 48MoH: Yes. Personally, I put a very high value on rebounding and am willing to excuse other deficiencies if a player is exceptionally good at ending an opponent’s possession after one shot. I also think the concerns regarding his height, although valid, are a bit overstated. His length and core strength make up his comparatively squat body.

Andrew McNeill, 48MoH: Depends on how heavily you rely on him. If you need him for around 15 minutes a night as an energy guy off the bench, someone to come in and scrap on the boards and physically wear out the other team, then yes. If you need him to control the paint and put up points on offense, then no.


3. Buy or sell: Moving DeJuan Blair before the trade deadline?

Timothy Varner, 48MoH: San Antonio has to upgrade their frontcourt first. They’re thin the way it is, and entirely too thin without Blair. But in the event of an upgrade, I’d buy a Blair trade near the trade deadline.

Graydon Gordian, 48MoH: I am pretty conservative when it comes to trades: I stick with known factors/players over unknown ones. But if you can bring someone back whose ceiling is higher than “competent role player,” it could be worth it. However, because of McDyess’ exit and the imminent retirement of Duncan, hollowing out the frontcourt might not be the best idea.

Andrew McNeill, 48MoH: Buy, depending on what you can get in return. Blair’s contract alone won’t net you similar value in return as he doesn’t make enough to bring back good talent (was due less than $1 mil in 2011-12). But if you move it as a part of a larger package, say with Richard Jefferson, you might get a decent player or two.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Andrew what kind of player are we thinking about in return for RJ and Blair? That is one loaded contract we would need to shop.

  • BALLHOG

    Here’s a thought.  Stop the idiotic attempt at having this guy at the 5 spot.  The problem, as usual is not the player, its the coaching staff.  He should be playing the 4 spot period.  However, the staff decided to bring in Splitter as the save all in the post.  Wrong answer yet again.

    Hopefully, this wont last much longer.  As the losses mount, maybe the Spurs will finally decide to get a new coach, better scouting department that knows how to find real players instead of one trick ponies, and a front line that is at least formiddable.

    Besides, playing guys based on favoritism as opposed to production is a definate sign of the need for cleaning house.  We have all watched this coach be brutally outcoached and put together one weak roster after another for years now.  We can stay in denail as long as we choose, but any true basketball fan can see the truth.

    Spurs need change and need it now.

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    The lockout must be ending soon everybody, BALLHOG is back around.

  • Sbsas69

    First its denial not denail (haha) in your message.Second any team that still winning 50+ games has shot at title until horse cant race no more. O’H  weren’t SPURS with best record west.a frst roundupset does not change how good team is. I can see you basketball fan but not true  knowledge of teams and players talent.In last 3 yrs spurs have gotten much younger as team continue transit from older team to younger team and still winning. Let me remind you how long it took bulls to start back winning after JORDAN era or Celtics in Bird era. too damn long!! This is best scouting draft team in N.B.A. today hands down. So ballhog pass ball and notice talent on your team or u be BIG LOSER as your are now with this reply. Spurs and mave has longest streak 50+ wins 10  yrs or more,who won last championship? Who won 4 titles, last one in 2007. So if your team hasn’t won championship in last ten yrs “shut up” If your team won championship in last ten yrs they old spurs today,Laker’s,Boston,Dallas and its down hill soon and they havent started insert young talent with vets

  • Joe Perez

    I like to say I read other blogs and I do agree with SBsas on somethings.  Blair, Coaching Staff, and FO are not  entirely the reason for our Spurs ups and downs, yes we have improve at stopping the aging process (1) one good step, However: I do blame the system the NBA CBA agreement and Owners because no one has brought up what I feel is the real problem and thats is that the bottom 8 teams are truely responsible for jeopardizing the season and are to blame for this NBA lockout again.  This teams bad decisions making (i.e. bad contracts, Lotto picks) are just a few reasons. The number one problem is that the lower 8 teams keep getting reward over and over again with first round picks and Lotto picks for losing “what a country”. The League and owners need to change that rule so that the same teams for the past 30 years don’t keep getting into the Lotto every year.  You keep giving Crack to a Crack addict.  I even heard that the lower 8 team should draft 1-8 and then again 8-16 how stupid can that be, Crack head, that person was also on crack himself.  I also read we should throw the season away for a Lotto pick, maybe but we have more pride than that, I would say swollow your pride and do it or just be patient because this rebuilding process is going take about one or two more years pending on the new CBA.  I see the opposite of what eveyone else see about Blair, RJ and AMac contracts they are very valuable because they are really throw away contracts except Blairs.  There are at least 4 good players in the amnesty cuts and a few free-agents that would fit right in and get rid of all those dead weight SF we got because the new talent is comming in this year and next. Plus the UNION should be be disband because if they are fighting for those low wage player 2 million and under stop and think that why they are getting paid that and problaly the reason is that they are only worth that except for maybe a handful I say adopt the MLB rule arbritation and get paid in court if you think you’re worth that extra money.  

  • Beer

    It would be nice if the Bulls would trade Taj Gibson for Blair straight up

  • Joe Perez

    Beer, Agree Taj Gibson would be a gooood deal for us that has been brought up before the draft.  You can throw in all the other DEAD WEIGHT SF we got in there too.  AMac’s contract and RJ contract or problaly amesty rule casualty I think will looked pretty entisining for many teams not to be able to pass on them and clear themselves of salary cap by then unloading them later.  Then we can pick up AMac up again for a much lower MLE.

  • Growndhawgg

    When the Spurs traded George Hill, they lost the team chemistry that they were developing. The Spurs targeted youth, ahtleticism, and defensive potential when they traded away Hill. Blair can contribute his instincitve talent and Spur’s basketball I.Q. to any team in nead of immediate success. The spurs need rubounding-dunking-height in the frontcourt.

  • Titletown99030507d

    First off your wrong about Splitter. Secondly your right about the coaching staff, and thirdly Blair has no place on this team. Splittter can get the same rebounds Blair can. And he can defend a whole lot better at the rim than Blair can. Also he can create go to the rim points much better than Blair can. And I bet he can shoot a whole lot better from the outside than Blair can. He did it in the Liga but your coaching staff won’t let him. Plus Splitter is a blue collar workhorse on the court. He’ll get you quality play every time he steps on the court not to mention he has better BBIQ than Blair does as well as basketball experience. Splitter over Blair on this team any day of the week. 

  • Titletown99030507d

    Where do they sign? I’m all over that.

  • Titletown99030507d

    What BBIQ?