DeJuan Blair’s Big Night

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Free from the shackles of Pop’s system for a night, DeJuan Blair tried to make the most of it in the NBA Rookie Challenge Game, the first event of NBA All-Star Weekend (c’mon, nobody cares about the celebrity game).

In the first time in a long time, the Rookies took down their veteran counterparts as they downed the Sophomores 140-128. The Spurs’ Blair, who admittedly was gunning for every rebound he could find, was a star for the Rookie team, scoring 22 points and grabbing 23 rebounds.

The 23 rebounds is a record for the Rookie Challenge.

Tyreke Evans of the Sacramento Kings was named MVP of the Rookie Challenge, but decided to share the honor with Blair.

Some highlights of Blair’s night without Pop patrolling the sideline include:

  • wearing a headband in the first half
  • shooting a three-pointer
  • throwing an alley-oop off the glass to himself on a fast break
  • missing a free throw on purpose to get himself another rebound

  • Zach R.

    So is “Heavy D” really DeJuan’s nickname or was that guy just really trying to make it work?

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

    Blair says he likes the nickname “The Beast” a lot better.

    http://www.nba.com/spurs/multimedia/100212_blair.html

  • sj_papi

    a BEAST is what the guy is. C’mon Pop, get him back in the starting lineup!!!!

  • grego

    Off the bench is actually good. He brings energy, something Manu does very coming in as a 6th man.

    Blair might eventually start, but McDyess is playing a lot better and that set works pretty well.

  • DNITCH

    I personally prefer Grizzly Blair, great night for him.

  • SpursfanSteve

    He’s better off the bench, Papi. He doesnt play as well with Tony as he does with Manu.

  • b

    lol, this guy needs to stop trying to coin a new nickname for DeJuan.

    He’s “Big Fella” to Pitt fans,
    “the Beast” to spurs fans,
    and “Grizzly Blair” kinda universally.

    one thing is for sure–this kid is a rare talent!

  • wannabe_fan

    He is better off the bench for the reasons noted above, and the fact his defense isn’t there yet (silly fouls, too). This will improve in time.

  • Denso

    He definitely should be off the bench, he’s like a malik rose kinda player with that energy. Malik really provided the spark along with manu in 2003

  • Spurlady

    Pop needs to keep Manu and Blair together. Their pick and roll is great.

  • td4life

    I think the last time the rookies won was with Tony Parker and Pau Gasol, going against a really poor sophomore class?
    The kings are STOKED to have Tyreke, he’s gonna beat up opposing point guards for the next 12 years… and Steph Curry is sweet too, every team wants a top-shelf playmaker who can shoot it like that.

  • Gary

    THE BEAST UNLEASHED!

  • Chris K.

    What do people think about the Mavs trade for Butler and Haywood? I think it’s a big upgrade, particularly of Butler over Howard. Howard has been injured and unhappy this year and Butler is basically Richard Jefferson with toughness.
    The Mavs will probably bring Marion off the bench now, starting Kidd, (Barea or Terry), Butler, Dirk, Haywood.
    That front line is second only to the Lakers, in my opinion.
    Do the Spurs have to do something now? Thomas from the Bulls? What do people think?

  • Chris K.

    Here’s the article from the Washington Post – http://voices.washingtonpost.com/wizardsinsider/2010/02/wizards-and-mavericks-agree-to.html.

    I overlooked that the Mavs pick up Stevenson in this deal as well, a decent vet who can defend.

  • TD

    I was never concerned about the Mavs last season or this season; I always felt the Spurs were better. If this trade goes through, I’ll have to reconsider that. I’m not saying automatically the Mavs will be better, but they’ll have a chance to be now.

    This gives them two legit centers to throw at Duncan and the Lakers front line, plus a legit second star to pair with Nowitzki. True, Butler is having a down season, but only two years ago he was the fourth best small forward in the league. I have to think his drop off is a direct result of the environment he’s in.

    Put him on a top ten team, though and all of a sudden, I think he’ll begin to resemble the player he was last year. Haywood’s already having a solid season.

    The Mavs still lack a traditional shooting guard (Terry is a shooting guard in a point guards body and Butler will start at shooting guard by default because he’ll be their second best player and his skill set more closely resembles that of a shooting guard that does Marion’s).

    Starters: PF- Nowitzki, SF- Marion, C- Haywood, SG- Butler, PG- Kidd

    Bench: SG/PG- Terry, C- Dampier, PG- Barea, PF/SF- Thomas, PG- Beaubois, SG- Stevenson, PF- Najera

    Inactive: SG- Carroll

    The Spurs needed to make a trade before this and this only increases the urgency of it. Thomas is a worthwhile gamble and I hope the Spurs acquire him. My guess is the trade would be Thomas and Pargo for Mason, Bonner, Mahinmi and a 1st round pick. I’d prefer to replace Mason with Finley, but I doubt that get’s it done.

    The problem with the front line is if Bonner plays with Blair, then the Spurs lack shot blocking and if Ratliff plays with Blair, then the Spurs lack shooting. Thomas would mostly solve that issue. He doesn’t have three point range, but is an improving mid-range shooter, an outstanding shot blocker and he and Blair in tandem could surely do damage.

    Starters: PF- Duncan, SF- Jefferson, C- McDyess, SG- Hill, PG- Parker

    Bench: SG- Ginobili, PF- Blair, SG- Bogans, PF- Thomas, SG/SF- Finley, PG/SG- Pargo, C- Ratliff

    Inactive: SG/SF- Hairston

  • ThatBigGuy

    Blair is awesome.

    And I will now consider, on paper, that the Mavs are now #2 in the west. Dammit.

  • New York City

    Wow, they pulled trigger faster than I expected. So much for us making any trades with Washington. The worst part is, now we have to contend with Butler and Haywood on the Mavericks.
    I’m gonna go ahead and say that this does not help us.

  • New York City

    Nah, Denver is still no. 2 in the West. I think this puts Dallas in contention for no. 2 and a pretty good lock-down on no.3, although they wil have competition from Utah.

    I’m surprised the Mavs didn’t get rid of Dampier, though. Perhaps they’re not done dealing just yet.

  • idahospur

    Dallas upgraded. Find a deal or plan vacations, Spurs.

  • Hobson13

    @idahospur, I agree. Spurs either make a deal or pack it in. It is interesting that Washington simply took expiring contracts for some really good players. I wouldn’t recommend trading Manu (rather ditch a ball hog), but the Spurs definitely have a few expiring contracts of their own and Manu’s is on par with Josh Howards.

  • -SONofSAN-

    I personally like “GRIZZLY” BLAIR! Tyreke showed some good sportsmanship to share the MVP with Blair! I think Blair should have won it though! I hate NBA politics!

  • not as good as I once was

    The comments made here are probably true, but it does not mean its a lock. Looks good on paper but you still have to combine all the new pieces. How many times have you seen a team loaded with talent not play up to thier potential. Look at whats happening to the Spurs so far this season. On paper they looked awsome. Remember the Lakers a few years back. If I remember right had like three future hall of famers they were going to roll over everyone and they fell flat on thier face. I’m not saying this is whats going to happen but sometimes egos get in the way. Sometimes thier not happy with thier sitiuation whatever.

  • Miggy

    I read that the Wizards may try to work out some sort of buyout with Gooden, if the Spurs stand pat and don’t make a move, perhaps trying to bring Gooden back for another run and actually letting him play this time could be beneficial if he is willing to come back, after all he should have learned part of the system by now and would allow the team to go back to a more traditional lineup with the two bigs or even playing him and Blair to beef things up a little, it’s not like the Spurs to make big moves but if he becomes available and is willing to resign this is a more typical type of move for the Spurs, plus it would still allow them cap flexibility as more than likely the deal would be for the rest of this year only.

  • junierizzle

    THE GRIZZLY BLAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • td4life

    Gotta love Blair! I think a dirty work power player ideally gives you defense, and DB’s game will never be even so much as Malik Rose’s game in this sense. But DeJuan can lead the league in offensive rebounds and second chance points; hopefully he also develops a Kevin Love/ Carl Landry outlet pass to go with tenacious defensive rebounding, and otherwise sprints back to get those offensive boards. I’ll take that. In the meantime, he’s one quality back up for Timmy.

  • New York City

    Miggy: I wasn’t that impressed by Gooden’s time in silver and black. Of course, you might blame that on Pop’s whimsical use of him. But I just can’t muster up any excitement about bringing Gooden back.
    Besides, Spurs are over the cap as it is. I can’t see them spending any more money this year unless they believe it is guaranteed to bring us back to contention for a title.
    What I wonder is if Gooden is bought out as you suggest, will Dallas try to resign him?

  • Ivander

    Damn the Mavs really got Butler and Haywood, this makes things a lot more difficult for us (a priori).
    We can always hope that it doesn’t work out but on paper this looks great for our rivals…..

  • Muwu

    Well teams that are not the spurs can seemingly integrate in half the time. Lakers went to the finals right after the gasol trade, pistons won a championship after the midseason trade for rasheed, the celtics won the championship right after getting their players on draft day. While the spurs retain their 3 core guys and go haywire. The spurs system is seemingly not retooling friendly. It’s fine if you’re adding small pieces, but once you get near the end and need major moves, the intricate system that brought you so much success will kill you

  • Reev

    Blair on the loose = great game. Pop should create a system based on his team’s talents…not a system that everyone has to adjust to. The “old ways” just doesn’t cut it anymore. His coaching style should evolve. I think the last 3 years can speak for itself.

  • idahospur

    The truth is that even if the Spurs started working together, and stayed healthy, I don’t believe that they are capable of competing against the Lakers, Mavs, Nuggets, and the other talented teams in the West. This is sadly shown through their record against good teams. With Washington completing this trade, the Spurs missed a good opportunity to take from a team willing to give (unless you want Arenas).
    With Gooden, I think he could’ve helped us with a resign, but with what happened last year, you can’t really blame him for signing elsewhere. If Pop doesn’t play him, you can’t really expect more.
    Time for the team to make some phone calls and hopefully some deals.

  • zainn

    I am predicting that we will lose in the second round of the playoffs to the Denver nuggets or Dallas mavericks. We will obtain splitter in the summer and Bonner will sign elsewhere. We will win the championship in Tim Duncan’s last year. We will also use RJ’s 15 mil expiring contract to get someone really good. We will win the championship next season everyone.

  • Pete

    It’s not “The Beast”. It’s “DaBeast”.

    The PTR guys press this one pretty hard, and for good reason. “Heavy D” is a cop-out, but it’s better than “D45″ or “D-Blair”, both of which totally suck. The only one of those that is kind of cool is AK47, and that’s only because he’s Russian and it’s a Cold War era Soviet assault rifle.

  • BigWhit

    After that dunk, he is “Air Blair”.

  • DieHardSpur

    NBA Politics is Billshit!

    A rookie has a 20-20 night, on the winning team, and doesnt get the mvp???

    That goes to show you that Small Market clubs can’t get a break to save their lives…

    I feel sorry for Blair, all that effort. He out-worked everyone on the floor!

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