Why DeJuan Blair might not work for the Spurs

by

Maybe a better title for this post is ‘Why DeJuan Blair is not playing many minutes.’  Either way, we’re far enough into the season to make note of DeJuan Blair’s decreasingly important role on this Spurs team.

In the last 4 games, DeJuan Blair has logged 10, 6, 13, and 7 minutes. It’s odd for a starter to play end-of-the-rotation minutes, and so it has me thinking, what gives?

Against the Magic, Blair was too short to effectively defend Howard and too immobile to effectively cover Rashard Lewis. Against the Timberwolves, he earned three fouls in six minutes. Blair’s 13 minutes against the Mavericks were mostly uneventful. He used his long arms to swipe at Dirk Nowitzki’s dribble out near the arc, but aside from four rebounds and two assists, Blair’s performance was forgettable. In last night’s game against the Hornets, Popovich sent Blair to the bench after six minutes of play and he remained there until the final minute of garbage time.  One substitution and done.

DeJuan Blair is a good basketball player. He has the potential to become a permanent double-double player, and, at worst, is already a threat to rumble off the bench for a high-energy 10-10. But one wonders if Blair can become this player for San Antonio. Given the Spurs’ current personnel and playing style, Blair is a poor fit.

DeJuan Blair’s natural position is center, even at 6’7”. Last season he played almost entirely at center, and registered several great games. He went for 28 and 21 boards in 31 minutes against the Thunder, if you recall. He’s capable of explosive one-offs like that.

Blair, much like teammate Matt Bonner, is a wonderful case study of the helpfulness of adjusted plus minus. And I’d like to turn to those numbers to unravel the mystery of Blair’s limited effectiveness this season.

Last season Blair was featured in seven positive 5-man APM units. In six of those units, Blair played alongside a perimeter-oriented big — that is, Blair played center. Three of those units saw Blair paired with Matt Bonner, two with Antonio McDyess and one with Richard Jefferson.

Blair can’t shoot, and because of this it’s difficult for the Spurs to pair him with Tim Duncan. Not only does a Duncan-Blair lineup transform Tim Duncan into a long two shooting forward, but it congests potential driving lanes with help defenders.  You have to respect Tim Duncan’s jumpshot, but he’s not so deadly that his man can’t lag back. With Bonner and McDyess, defenders have to stay home. And home is typically a long way from the hoop and very close to their man. Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and George Hill (a mediocre ball handler who requires ample space to perform his trademark head-down-and-go drives to the hoop) use the extra space created by Bonner/McDyess to get to the rim. When they’re able to do this, the Spurs offense hums a beautiful tune.

Tim Duncan’s natural position is center. Everyone on earth knows this, with the possible exception of Tim Duncan. The Spurs know this. This is why DeJuan Blair spent his summer trying to develop a jump shot. And from what we gathered from the Spurs coaching staff, Blair put in the time and worked hard. He’s not lazy. He gets after it. But it just hasn’t come together for Blair, which is obvious to all those who’ve watched the Spurs this season.

Because of his height and girth, Blair is a poor defensive match up against long bigs such as Pau Gasol and shooting fours such as Rashard Lewis. And without a jumpshot, he doesn’t work well alongside Duncan, who, as we noted, plays best at center. Again, the APM numbers bear this out.

Last season the Spurs used Blair in thirteen lineups which tallied enough minutes for reliable 5-man data. Five of those thirteen featured a Duncan-Blair tandem, and four of those five featured a negative APM.  Minus 2.93, 4.40, 5.65, and 16.09, to be exact. And while it’s true that there is a Duncan-Blair unit that registered a positive 6.79 and two Bonner-Blair lineups that sank the Spurs’ battleship at minus 0.98 and minus 8.43, it’s generally the case that Blair plays better as a ball collecting center alongside a floor spacing forward.

This pattern is true again this year. Blair appears in two positive 5-man units. To be fair, one of those lineups is Parker-Hill-Jefferson-Blair-Duncan. Through November 26, that lineup is plus 0.97. Barely better than their opponents, but better nonetheless. Plus 0.97 is Blair’s most effective appearance as a power forward. The unit of Hill-Neal-Ginobili-Jefferson-Blair is plus 23.90 and scores a point for Blair as a center and for San Antonio small-ball configurations.

In terms of regular lineups, Blair is featured in four additional looks. In three of those lineups Blair plays power forward for APMs of minus 0.6, minus 6.82 and minus 53.73.

San Antonio’s best floor units are those that supply driving lanes for their guards and single coverage for Tim Duncan.  Through November 26,  San Antonio has fielded 9 successful lineups. Two of those feature Blair–the aforementioned small-ball set and the plus 0.96 Blair-Duncan offering. The other 7 positive lineups pair Tim Duncan with either Antonio McDyess or Matt Bonner. (Tiago Splitter has not played enough for reliable plus/minus data. But we’ll look at those numbers in the coming weeks.)

This sounds counter-intuitive, but DeJuan Blair is best suited to play in a transition offense that boasts a bevy of shooters. Blair would thrive in the NY Knicks offense, for example. He makes smart outlet passes, is fast enough to run the floor with smalls, and is always happy to clean the offensive glass and reset the clock for a surrounding cast of jump-shooting specialists.  San Antonio can field these sort of lineups, but they’ll never do so in the closing minutes of the game.

Or, more precisely, when the Spurs play 1 in, 4 out in the final minutes of a game, Tim Duncan is their 1 in, not DeJuan Blair. Morever, when Gregg Popovich begins to play chess with opposing coaches, the only creative option that involves DB moves him from forward to center in a small-ball set.

  • lvmainman

    Projected 8 game win increase.

  • rob

    Tyler

    “In the end though, I think the debate over who starts is close to meaningless. It’s who finishes that matters.”

    Very good point. But it also matters that the team doesn’t run down it’s arguably second best (aged)big man before the playoffs begin.

    McDyess playing heavy doses of minutes throughout the regular season is not what Pop had in mind for Antonio.

    Blair was (maybe still is?) the hope that another big can come in and spare some of the minutes that both Duncan and McDyess are having to play at this point.

    Blair isn’t proving at this point nor with the personel to be that viable option.

    Maybe Tiago can become that post player to be relied upon to provide quality minutes more so than Blair?

    At this point Blair is proving to be almost everything opposite than what I would guess was being expected.

    And to others…this article isn’t suggesting in any way that Blair isn’t going to be good at some point. It’s merely stating the problems Blair is having playing with this team as it’s currently constructed.

    Would it be adviseable for the coaching staff to completely change it’s offensive and defensive strategy just to compensate for a single player?

    To me…not when it’s been able to role out a 14 and 2 record without having to depend on Blair in the game to achieve that short term goal. But winning record aside…the team is still going to need another athletic big better suited to play in a manner that Blair doesn’t provide in order to have a chance to going far in the playoffs.

    And I’ve seen the arguements about what Blair might become in the future. Well the opposite could hold true regarding potential…a player may never achieve that potential in a system that doesn’t allow them to become that type of player.

    Again…does a team change their entire formula to possibly winning to accomodate a single player? Or…is it best and try to get a player known for their talents that fits their philosophy?

    Difficult to say the least.

  • Jim Henderson

    BlaseE
    November 29th, 2010 at 8:06 am

    Insightful post, with vision. I’m impressed, BlaseE!

    “For his price, I think Blair is worth keeping around….as long as we’re winning.”

    Good point.

    Len
    November 29th, 2010 at 8:07 am

    “I was really disappointed by Blair’s defensive effort against West. His focus was pretty poor and the execution matched it.”

    Nobody guarded West well in the 1st half. He’s a tough cover for anyone when he gets it going.

    Tyler
    November 29th, 2010 at 8:21 am

    “From my perspective, most of Blair’s struggles stem from the fact that he’s trying to do things that are beyond his skill set at this point. He’s shooting jumpers, trying to go 1 on 1 against a set defense, trying to guard perimeter 4′s (which, in his defense, he has no experience doing), etc. And in doing so, he’s taking himself out of what he does best – attacking the glass, out-hustling his man, running the floor….”

    Yes, that is true.

    “I think after 16 games it’s time to move Blair into a role in which we play to his strengths. Pair him with McDyess or Bonner and let him do what he does best. Most likely this means coming off the bench.”

    Not necessarily. I’m in favor of continuing to start him while we’re winning at such a high rate because going against tougher competition can eventually quicken his ultimate development.

    SA_Ray
    November 29th, 2010 at 8:23 am

    “Plus Tiago can shoot….”

    Tiago cannot shoot from the perimeter. At least he hasn’t shown us that so far, 16 games in, and that’s all we really have to go on.

    Tyler
    November 29th, 2010 at 8:42 am

    “I too am enamored with Anthony Randolph’s potential, but I’m always terrified when a player’s profile reads “Needs to work on: Heart, desire.””

    I agree.

    Blofeld
    November 29th, 2010 at 8:57 am

    “Although the Spurs start has been amazing, it’s still sad to see what’s become of Blair. Like Bill Simmons (Sports Guy) said, when guys have a promising rookie year, they tend to have a break out second year. If they don’t, then you should be worried.”

    Bill Simmon’s doesn’t know what he’s talking about on this issue. I’m not worried about Blair in the least, just like Jerry Sloan wasn’t worried about Paul Millsap 16 games into season two.

    Tim Varner
    November 29th, 2010 at 9:05 am

    “Bill Walker would be the more valuable acquisition.”

    Why? We have everybody we need at his position (a 2/3), particularly when Anderson comes back in the next 4 weeks.

    Len
    November 29th, 2010 at 10:26 am

    “I couldn’t disagree more (again). Bonner is a situational player, period. He doesn’t have the defensive skills to be a starter. Pop finds minutes for Bonner as the matchups/situations allow, not the other way around. Sorry boss, we’ll have to agree to disagree about this one.”

    Totally agree with you on that one. McDyess & Splitter are reasonable possibilities to at some point to start over Blair, Bonner is not.

    The Beat Counselor
    November 29th, 2010 at 11:22 am

    “Jim Henderson is going to be pissed…”

    No, just annoyed with the constant stream of short-sightedness and impatience from the peanut gallery.

    ThatBigGuy
    November 29th, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    “Splitter…..If he can get 25 mins a game, I see him at 12 and 9.”

    I like Splitter, but he will NEVER average 9 rebounds in 25 mpg. You can take that to the bank.

    Bry
    November 29th, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Very solid post, Bry. Nice job.

  • ThatBigGuy

    @ Jim

    If we’re going to wait on Blair to develop a jump shot, post moves, and defensive chops, why not trade him for a guy like Randolf, who can at least fill a roll on the team (shot blocking) while we wait on him to develop his offense and rebounding? Blair has the potential to be a 14-11 guy for us, perhaps a 16-12 game for a team like the Knicks. But Randolf has the potential to be a 14-9-3 guy for us.

    In rebounds per game, we have a +2.75 differential, which is 6th in the league, and less than 1 RPG from 2nd. In blocks per game, we’re a -.56, good for 21st. You’ve championed for a defensive big all year, why not trade Blair for Randolf? Both have potential in different areas, but Randolf’s potential on D is higher than Blair’s overall potential.

    With your all time favorite stat, the per 36 mins one, I submit the following numbers:

    Blair: 10.3 ppg, 12.01 rpg, .75 bpg
    Randolf: 8.3 ppg, 11.25 rpg, 2.25 bpg

    Blair wins on points, it’s a wash on rebounds, and Randolf smokes Blair on blocks. You want to keep Blair because he rebounds, but Randolf rebounds at the same rate. You want a shot blocking big alongside Timmy, that’s clearly Randolf.

    We’re destined for a really low draft pick yet again, so packaging Blair and a first rounder for Randolf would be affordable and have great potential.

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  • Spizzle Wizzle

    If we get off to some more slow starts, I would expect Dice or Bonner to take over. Splitter eventually, but not until he deserves the minutes away from the rest. In terms of spacing, Bonner and Dice lead the front-court options, Splitter has some range, and Blair even less having to literally be under the basket to score.
    Starting Blair against -.500 teams or small front-court squads have been his best outings and has proved to really help out with the duration of Duncan’s minutes.
    The fact remains that Splitter is our best match-up against the Lakers’ bigs (besides Duncan) given his youthful speedy footwork, solid principles, and size match-ups. Having him come off the bench is a great teaching tool, however when does his time come when he’s trusted with significant minutes against legit playoff contenders so his preparedness is maximized for a rookie ring run.

  • ThatBigGuy

    @ Tyler

    Touche.

  • rob

    ThatBigGuy

    “We’re destined for a really low draft pick yet again, so packaging Blair and a first rounder for Randolf would be affordable and have great potential.”

    And in the scope of things future…both Tiago and Blair null each other out regarding their respective talents. Which is playing closer to the rim.

    When Duncan eventually retires…I’d much rather have a Splitter/Randolph pairing than a Blair/Splitter pairing for the reasons you set forth for the simple reason I think their talents would compliment each other more favorably.

  • Mac

    I think a big problem for Blair is the weight he lost. He is obviously undersized height-wise so he made that up with his extra lbs (last year). Slimming him down and trying to make him a quicker player doesn’t feed into his game. He was better when he was throwing his meat around and abusing people…

    Dice/Bonner starting is not the answer. Splitter is just as capable as spacing the floor as Dice is. Splitter knows where to be to make the offense work. He needs to start and I suspect he will by year-end. Pop is just giving him some rest for the long haul. If Splitter was playing mad minutes now his legs would be dead come playoff time. I suspect by the road trip in Feb. he will be starting. Until then enjoy all of Pop’s crazy tweaked out lineups.

    BTW… Randolph/Walker I can see but no way is NY giving up Wilson Chandler along with Randolph for Blair/Quinn/Udoka. Why would they do that? I know that Melo may end up in NY next yr but there is a lack of solid SF’s in the NBA (Chandler’s #’s are solid and that is coming off the bench). NY could get a much better trade for those guys than B/Q/U.

  • Daniel

    Trade Parker/McDyess/Anderson to the Knicks for Felton/Randolph/Fields/Curry. A big man rotation of Blair/Randolph/Splitter would be a absolute terror for the next decade.

  • Tom

    Good analysis, but why trade perhaps your best offensive rebounder from a team that desperately needs offensive rebounds. Keep in mind that Blair led the nation in offensive rebounds at Pitt. That’s why the Spurs drafted the kid. Blair is 21 and will only get better. And what if Duncan goes down with a season-ending injury (God forbid). With that said, if there was a trade that really made sense, you can reconsider. But I think Blair would be undervalued.

  • ThatBigGuy

    @ Rob

    “I’d much rather have a Splitter/Randolph pairing than a Blair/Splitter pairing for the reasons you set forth for the simple reason I think their talents would compliment each other more favorably.”

    It sure makes sense, doesn’t it?

    @ Tom

    “…but why trade perhaps your best offensive rebounder from a team that desperately needs offensive rebounds.”

    No one denies Blair’s ability to rebound the basketball. The emerging realization is that his shortcomings in all the other areas of the game are keeping him on the bench, where he can’t grab rebounds. The coaching staff has acted accordingly. He averaged 23.9 mpg through the first 8 games, but has averaged 14.5 mpg over the last 8 games. If he can’t defend anyone, nor score on anyone, he’s the 5th big. 5th bigs are easily traded for other 5th bigs, especially one like Randolf who has the potential to be a starter after Duncan retires.

  • Jim Henderson

    jwalt
    November 29th, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    “Jim H. — Blair’s defense was no worse than anyone else’s? Are you kidding? West was on his way to 50 until Blair was taken out. I know West had at least 10 already, and I think it was 12.”

    I suggest you revisit the play-by play in the first quarter. Your memory is a bit off. First of all, Paul loves to get DWest going to start games. West will often burn any defender in the league if he’s on his game. Paul went to West early and often and he was ready to do his job to get them off to a strong start. During Blair’s time with West (6:14), West was 5-7 in FG’s, one was a lay-up, one was a tip-in, one was a pull-up jumper, and two were turn-around, fade-away jumpers. West played another 4.5 minutes before he went out for the quarter at the 1:21 mark. During that time he was still 2-3 from the field, including a lay-up, PLUS he was fouled twice in the act of shooting (once by McDyess, once by Bonner) because he was burning whoever it was that was guarding him. He was guarded mostly by MvDyess during this 4.5 minute stretch, although Bonner got in against him for TEN SECONDS, (and that’s all Pop could take because West was about to burn Bonner bad), and hacked West sending him to the line for 2 FT’s. In short, during the 4.5 minutes of Dice & Bonner on West, West was 2-3 FG’s, was sent to the line FOUR times (luckily making just two of the four), and so ended up with 6 points during this stretch (could have easily have been 8 pts.). If you prorate West’s scoring to make the minutes equal out with the time that Blair was on him, and assume that most of the time West is going to make 3-4 FT’s, not 2-4, West would have scored 10 points in that 1st quarter on McDyess and Bonner as well. Thus, as I said, Blair’s defense was no worse than anybody else’s on West in that 1st quarter of last night’s game. Plus Blair’s offensive & rebounding production per minute in that 1st quarter was better than both McDyess & Bonner’s.

    Dr. Leonard McCoy
    November 29th, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    “Damnit Jim! I’m just a round mound rebounding machine, not a shotblocking defending big!”

    Yeah, and Bonner is neither, and McDyess & Splitter are not shot-blockers – better positional defenders than Blair at this point, but do not create turnovers that fuels our transition offense, and they are not the rebounder that Blair is.

    Michael Erler
    November 29th, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    “Like most people I think Blair works best as a bench guy where he can provide energy, working with Dice or Rocket. Eventually he’ll either be in that role or he’ll be the fifth big and out of the rotation altogether except in a rare “sparkplug” role when we’re flat.”

    Don’t count on it.

    rob
    November 29th, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    “At this point Blair is proving to be almost everything opposite than what I would guess was being expected.”

    It depends on who is doing the “expecting”. LOL!

    “Would it be adviseable for the coaching staff to completely change it’s offensive and defensive strategy just to compensate for a single player?”

    No, and it’s not necessary with what Blair brings to the table.

    “But winning record aside…the team is still going to need another athletic big better suited to play in a manner that Blair doesn’t provide in order to have a chance to going far in the playoffs.”

    Oh, and what manner is that? What we don’t need is what Bonner provides. The last thing we need to make a long play-off run is an un-athletic stretch four that can’t do ANYTHING that well but shoot, and even that, not in the playoffs when the defensive intensity is cranked up. I hate to tell you, but we have enough shooters now, especially when Anderson returns and the more experience Neal gets. Lets drop the myth once and for all that an un-athletic stretch 4 has ungodly value because he “stretches the floor”, and has oddly favorable +/- numbers. Please! I’ll say it again, what we needed, minus a big trade, was to pick up someone like Amundson, and not because he has a great outside shot, but because he DOES EVERYTHING ELSE WELL, particular in his ability to DEFEND the rim.

  • Jim Henderson

    ThatBigGuy
    November 29th, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    “If we’re going to wait on Blair to develop a jump shot, post moves, and defensive chops, why not trade him for a guy like Randolf, who can at least fill a roll on the team (shot blocking) while we wait on him to develop his offense and rebounding?”

    Your “number” example does not present an accurate comparison, but if one were to do a trade, Randolph is a decent young player to consider, and does have some “potential”. The following is a recent post by Tyler, and is the primary reason why I would be very leery of pulling the trigger on a Randolph deal:

    Tyler
    November 29th, 2010 at 8:42 am

    “I too am enamored with Anthony Randolph’s potential, but I’m always terrified when a player’s profile reads “Needs to work on: Heart, desire.””

    Mac
    November 29th, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    I think a big problem for Blair is the weight he lost. He is obviously undersized height-wise so he made that up with his extra lbs (last year). Slimming him down and trying to make him a quicker player doesn’t feed into his game. He was better when he was throwing his meat around and abusing people…”

    He’s not too light now. No way. But you are right, he’s not using his strong body enough to his advantage., yet weight is not the reason. It’s more about the time needed to adjust to playing with (and against) the starters, as well as continuing to work on applying consistent mental focus.

    Tom
    November 29th, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Right on, good post, Tom.

  • Ian

    Blair didn’t perform that well last season either as a starter alongside TD if I recall correctly. He’s obviously more effective coming out from the bench paired with someone other than TD like everyone suggests, but are there any alternatives? Wearing Dice out in the regular season is probably not a good idea, Splitter is still a(n NBA) rookie, and Bonner is not a typical center.

    Trading for Randolph sounds like a good idea, but would this kid actually put in the effort to reach his potential (if the FO indeed bring him over)? Trading a player with good work ethics for a player with poor work ethics sounds like a risky business if you ask me… then again there might be nothing to lose if Blair continues to struggle in finding his role as a Spur.

  • rob

    Jim Henderson

    We’ve always agreed when it came to Amundson.

    We have obviously in uncertain terms disagreed regarding Blair.

    And I can understand your points regarding Blair.

    According to last year…Blair would have seemed to have a break out season even in just his second year. But something has happened along the path of last season to now. I think Tim Varner made a clear and concise evaluation of the moment at hand regarding Blair and his effectiveness for this team.

    Blair may well become this 18 and 10 beast that the numbers indicate he may become. But it appears his likelyhood of doing that may just be on another team and not the Spurs unless the Spurs change their philosophy which is highly unlikely.

    And in looking at the trade scenario…Blair would probably be more productive in a D’Antoni system than a Popovich system. Same being the case for Randolph. Each being good at what they do but apparently in a system that doesn’t promote their talents to the best of their abilities.

    But if a trade such as suggested doesn’t happen…I strongly believe Blair needs to come off the bench. And at that, only in situations as stated in the original post that allows Blair to succeed. Otherwise he’s as big of a liability to this team as Bonner when Bonner can’t make his shots.

  • Daniel T

    I don’t think I noticed a trade that could actually be accomplished, unless it were done on February 24th. That is the NBA trade deadline, but Ime cannot be traded prior to that date as it is 90 days after he was signed as a free agent. Chris Quinn can be traded on February 6th, 90 days after he was signed. There are very few players that the Spurs could actually trade that I would think they would even consider. Even if Blair were one of them, it would be difficult to come up with anyone like Randolf due to the disparity in contracts. I think they should hang on to him for now, while perhaps watching to see if Isaiah Thomas gets a new job as a GM somewhere.

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Timothy Varner

    @Daniel T,

    You’re mistaken, my friend. The rule is 90 days or December 15, whichever date comes first. The Spurs could deal, say, Quinn, on December 15, if they so choose.

    And fwiw, the trade I suggested fully satisfies the CBA. I’m a dork. I’m up on these things.

  • Hobson13

    The Randolph trade is intruiging. Check out this kid’s highlights against the Spurs during his rookie year. This is what he is capable of.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TJARASNxEo

    He can’t do this every night, but he does appear to be a much better jump shooter than Blair.

  • ThatBigGuy

    @ Jim

    I’m not sure how my number example doesn’t present an accurate comparison, but I’m glad we can find some common ground on Randolf and his potential upside.

    I also recognize that Randolf seems to have a work ethic/effort problem as Tyler pointed out. I would counter that he’s been in 2 organizations not exactly known for their internal structure. I think his attitude would improve significantly on a winning team surrounded by quality guys who are extremely professional. Remember, Captain Jack was a head case, but he behaved quite nicely while surrounded by the same influences.

    I just think Randolf’s potential trumps his attitude, especially when surrounded by Tim/Pop/Manu ect. It could be the perfect environment to unlock the Camby in Randolf.

  • ldhl89

    why fix somthing that is not broken

    The spurs have the best record and blair is 20% of the offensive rebounds of the team

  • rj

    blairs value as a cheap 2nd rnd impact player with high b ball iq is a good reason to keep him. blair used to get bench mintues with bonner. blair was rolling to the basket off pick and rolls, but splitter is getting those looks because his development is key to macthing up with the larger teams in the west. blair will no doubt have some big games this year, but we may not be as dependent on his rebounding and energy as we were last year considering the splitter acquisition. this is certainly a point of concern, but hes still a keeper.

  • Colin

    First off, Blair is a legit NBA player on many levels.

    However, I do not think that he will make any all-star teams (he could prove me wrong) without at least one signature post move and without a jumper. He makes his offensive living cleaning up and being in the right places.

    I believe Blair looked so good last year because it was an abnormally poor regular season by Spurs (Tim Duncan era) standards. There were so many glaring holes that Blair filled to make himself stand out. IE: Parker/Ginobili unhealthy and inconsistent for 1/2 the season and Jefferson playing with the coordination of a pregnant pole vaulter. Someone had to step up in those games and it was Blair in many cases.

    This year with the ball dominated by a healthy Parker, Ginobili, a rejuvenated RJ, and not to mention the evolution of George Hill…….and of course TD who will impose his will on this season and the playoffs when the time is right. There just isn’t room for Blair to put his stamp on games the way he did last year. I think the Spurs should quickly assess just how they can use Blair.

    If he continues to be used like he is now, I believe they can put him on the market for someone who can fit this roster better.

    by the way, where are all of the stupid haters who only post here when the Spurs lose?

  • Jim Henderson

    rob
    November 29th, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    “According to last year…Blair would have seemed to have a break out season even in just his second year.”

    It was never realistic for anyone to “expect” a “break-out” season for Blair in year two. Hope yes, expect no. I know Pop did not “expect” it. Also, it’s way too early still to know how the season will end for Blair.

    “I think Tim Varner made a clear and concise evaluation of the moment at hand regarding Blair and his effectiveness for this team.”

    Yes, and I disagree with it, and for good reason. No disrespect to Tim, but I have WAY more experience at following this game than the great majority of poster’s/commentator’s on this blog. You can use Tim’s assessment in an effort to validate your own preconceived notions all you want, but it does not make it correct.

    “But it appears his likelyhood of doing that may just be on another team and not the Spurs unless the Spurs change their philosophy which is highly unlikely.”

    Not true. The Spurs do not need to change their philosophy just for DeJuan Blair. Blair has a very strong possibility of ultimately thriving in this system, and in fact already makes strong contributions within it.

    “And in looking at the trade scenario…Blair would probably be more productive in a D’Antoni system than a Popovich system. Same being the case for Randolph. Each being good at what they do but apparently in a system that doesn’t promote their talents to the best of their abilities.”

    That’s not necessarily true, and you could say that about a lot of players, but it’s not particularly relevant. There’s no reason that Randolph could not flourish in D’antoni’s system. He’s just not playing well. And if he was such a good defender D’antoni would put him in at center instead of feeling forced to run Amare there. It’s not like he’s getting much out of Turiaf & Mozgov. Also Randolph is very good in an up tempo offense. That’s where he showed his flashes at Golden State.

    “Otherwise he’s as big of a liability to this team as Bonner when Bonner can’t make his shots.”

    No offense, but that’s an absurd comment.

    ThatBigGuy
    November 29th, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    On your conclusion, we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

  • BigJ

    As usual, great read Tim.

    I’ve said for some time that I don’t fully understand what Blair is going to develop into with in the NBA. He’s a hard read given his non-prototypical game/body for position. Personally he is frustrating to watch at times, but he is very young, quite raw, but oh so promising.
    This discussion has a bit of some Scola stink attached to it and that’s a rock that has hit Spurs fans to many times in the head to forget.

    I say hang on to the young man and lets enjoy watching him figure it out.

  • Bankshot21

    Jim Henderson
    November 29th, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    “First of all, Paul loves to get DWest going to start games. West will often burn any defender in the league if he’s on his game. Paul went to West early and often and he was ready to do his job to get them off to a strong start. During Blair’s time with West (6:14), West was 5-7 in FG’s, one was a lay-up, one was a tip-in, one was a pull-up jumper, and two were turn-around, fade-away jumpers. West played another 4.5 minutes before he went out for the quarter at the 1:21 mark. During that time he was still 2-3 from the field, including a lay-up, PLUS he was fouled twice in the act of shooting (once by McDyess, once by Bonner) because he was burning whoever it was that was guarding him. He was guarded mostly by MvDyess during this 4.5 minute stretch, although Bonner got in against him for TEN SECONDS, (and that’s all Pop could take because West was about to burn Bonner bad), and hacked West sending him to the line for 2 FT’s. In short, during the 4.5 minutes of Dice & Bonner on West, West was 2-3 FG’s, was sent to the line FOUR times (luckily making just two of the four), and so ended up with 6 points during this stretch (could have easily have been 8 pts.). If you prorate West’s scoring to make the minutes equal out with the time that Blair was on him, and assume that most of the time West is going to make 3-4 FT’s, not 2-4, West would have scored 10 points in that 1st quarter on McDyess and Bonner as well. Thus, as I said, Blair’s defense was no worse than anybody else’s on West in that 1st quarter of last night’s game.”

    Possibly the single fullest piece of shit excuse and rebuttal I’ve ever read in my life. Using words like “if” and “assume” and “would have” and “luckily” and “could have”. Does it not make sense to foul if you get burned? If DeJuan would have hacked him MAYBE he would have had less success against him genius. The other defenders saved 2 points by committing fouls yet you say Blair’s defense was equivalent to theirs. Incredible Jim. Incredible. The lengths you go to TRY to prove your point is border line foolish at times.

  • Jim Henderson

    Bankshot21
    November 29th, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    “Possibly the single fullest piece of shit excuse and rebuttal I’ve ever read in my life. Using words like “if” and “assume” and “would have” and “luckily” and “could have”. Does it not make sense to foul if you get burned? If DeJuan would have hacked him MAYBE he would have had less success against him genius. The other defenders saved 2 points by committing fouls yet you say Blair’s defense was equivalent to theirs. Incredible Jim. Incredible. The lengths you go to TRY to prove your point is border line foolish at times.”

    I have four words for your response:

    UTTERLY PATHETIC AND CLUELESS.

  • J2

    With Duncan, Splitter, McDyess, and Bonner on the roster, the Spurs can afford to give Blair time to see how he develops. I’d start Duncan and Splitter and use McDyess, Bonner, and Blair as substitutes situationally.

    J2

  • syd

    Like many who have posted here, I am on the fence about Blair’s ability to convert his clear, specific strengths into into something resembling a starter who is more contributor than liability. But a crucial point seems to be largely missed in this discussion and it is one that that cannot be ignored.

    Despite his incredible strength, unfailing work ethic and surprising athleticism, Blair has knees that are almost certain to fail him in the next 2-5 years. Here’s just one story I’ve read that addresses the issue:
    (http://www.poundingtherock.com/2010/11/4/1787341/relishing-the-now)

    Pieces like this reinforce the fears I already had for Blair based on my own unpleasant, personal basketball knee nightmares.

    As much as I enjoy watching him play, especially for how little he adds to the payroll, I think that depending on him in any long term is wishful thinking. I’m not saying we need to dump him before this year’s trade deadline or anything that dramatic. But I don’t think any long range roster planning should be made with him in mind.

    We’ve already gotten more out of him than is expected of most 37th picks in the draft. He has built up his value over a stellar rookie season, although his value is obviously not at its peak right now based on the season so far.

    I think it would be wise for the Spurs to quietly explore trade options over the course of the season and the summer to see how to use this vaulable but fragile asset to secure another post player more likely to survive the rigors of NBA play.

    Any analysis of his value that pretends this is not a relevant factor is not reality-based analysis. He dropped to 37th in the draft for a legitimate reason. The Spurs decided he was worth the risk at that slot and he’s already proven them right. But that doesn’t mean all is well in the ACL-free world.

    Let’s not kid ourselves here.

  • ThatBigGuy

    @ syd

    Keen and fresh insight. +10

  • spursfanbayarea

    @Daniel T
    You were correct in your assessment of Udoka’s trade availability.

    @Tim Varner
    Sorry my friend, you are not the expert on the CBA as you claim to be. The exact words of the CBA are “(d) Except as set forth in Section 8(e) below: (1) no player who signs a Contract as a Free Agent may be traded before the later of (i) three (3) months following the date on which
    such Contract was signed or (ii) the December 15 of the Salary Cap Year in which such Contract
    was signed”.

    Since Udoka was not signed 90 days before december 15 he must wait 90 days after the date he signed. It clearly states in the CBA that he must wait for the later of the two. Udoka holds the distinction of being the last free agent signing to be eligible to be traded due to the fact that his ninety days ends up on the NBA trade deadline.

    Before you go slamming fellow bloggers, please have your facts in order.

  • Dr. Who

    Greetz all. My first post of the season! I am a superstitious being and didn’t want to post in the middle of “the streak” and have it end because I decided to post. With that out of the way… what a season so far. Great to see so many positive posts and none of the “ball” posters calling for Pop to be fired, and the “It’s only November” posts as well. Great piece here on Blair.I think there are things here and many have already touched on it. Blair doesn’t seem to be the Barkely that some thought he’d be but more of the Malik Rose. I’d love to have another Malik Rose, he played a pivitol role on several championship teams. I don’t think it is surprising to see his regression this year since he is playing against starting quality bigs. He’s not playing against the No 2’s off the bench. At this point it seem like he’s more well suited to do so and terrorize the No 2’s instead of the No. 1’s. We’re asking him to do too much by going up against the other team’s staring C/PF most of which are either taller than him or if they are undersized, they usually have an amazing skill set (i.e. West – he’s not a 7 footer but is an offensive nightmare for the Spurs). Blair’s contract is tiny; which is all the more reason to hold onto Blair who is certainly not a bad player. He’s a good young player of which too much is simply being asked. His body is not built to handle starting 7 footers. His contract is small and he’s certainly an energy guy off the bench that can play very well against the second unit. He still may develop into starting material but isn’t there yet. Let him get his burn against the 2nd unit guys. Gotta love his attitude though. If we talk about his lack of production on this board on a daily basis what do you think this guy (a competitor) feels like? He still brings it every day. Yet another reason to hold on to him and get him to develop. Tiago becomes an interesting case study as well. At the beginning of the season he was the second coming to some. He’s still our big signing in more ways than one. He plays the pick and roll well, moves his feet for charges well; but what I really don’t like about his game is positioning. More times than not, he will not battle for position and when a ball is coming off the rim he is behind his man in poor rebounding position. As much as a scrappy guy like Blair tends to be in the right place at the right time for a rebound, the opposite can be said of Tiago. There is lots of work to be done with Tiago and against the bigger teams we need a big who has a more developed skill set. Look at what happened to us from Kevin Love and Darko. Love is the real deal and can do that to plenty of people in the league but Darko? Honestly I haven’t been watching his game this year, but dammit it’s Darko! The Spurs lack of quality length is something I’m sure the coaching staff are aware of. Plenty of time to get things better in that dept. Hopefully with the development of Tiago. I feel it’s more important to develop a 7 footer than an energy guy in Blair (Jimmmy Flame Suit On!). Unless Tiago is what he is and there’s not much room for growth and development. It seems like there is with Blair but with Tiago I’m not sure if he’s close to his ceiling or not. Only time will tell. Of the teams with high winning percentages, the Mavs I believe have played the toughest schedule. Thus what our neighbors to the north are doing is worth noting. Also I (and plenty others on this board) mentioned before the season began, that dumping Dampier was a great move since Dampier is abused more by Duncan than the word “Booyah” by Stewart Scott. Chandler (when healthy) gave Duncan and the Spurs fits. They also have Haywood which is even more scary. But… it’s November and normally this is too early to talk about basketball, but this is the start of a pretty incredible season.

    Random thoughts and observations on the season thufar:

    -Miami is sucking and that makes me smile really really big!

    -It’s great to see George Hill returning to form. Perhaps his injury at the beinging of the season was affecting his game

    -Blair’s game has regressed… what to do, Spurs will figure it out

    -Miami is sucking and that makes me smile really really big!

    -Timmy is taking a backseat thusfar to the other stars in SA; and so begins the twilight years of Duncan’s career (no vampire jokes please)

    -As of now I will have to bake an apology fruitcake and give it to RJ for Christmas. I (and many others) were all over this guy last year. Kudos for the work put in over the summer. This is the guy we thought we were trading for last year.

    -Gary Neal… there were those that were on his bandwagon in pre-season and said he’d be a difference maker. I was not among those supporters. To me he was an unproven rook in the NBA. To pin your championship hopes on an unproven rook is pretty ridiculous. Well… I’ll take my crow blackened with a side of dirty rice please. Chalk it up to another great find by the Spurs brass. Very promising young player; not the season savior, but a welcome addition and contributor to the Spurs. Now can we keep him and develop him pretty please.

    -Tiago is as tall as advertised, but his game is not as polished as I thought it would be. Hopefully this comes in time; he truly hasn’t had much burn. So far it’s evident he does fit in the pick and roll which is nice, and is decent at picking up charges. He needs more to his game to contribute, let’s hope that comes with more reps.

    -McDyess is playing less like November and more like the player we saw at the end of last season. Another welcome surprise; let’s keep it up.

    -Tony’s speed is back and that makes him dangerous. It keeps the trade “Tony Parker” posters at bay for a while at least

    -The Spurs are an uptempo offense this year! And with that comes better assist numbers from Tony Parker (see above)

    -Miami is sucking and that makes me smile really really big!

    -Tony is a manwhore and cheating on Eva :) Not really a surprise that an athlete and TV/movie star marriage didn’t last. Kinda surprised it lasted as long as it did. Luckily it hasn’t blown up into anything too large in the media and Tony has kept his game up on the court. That is the biggest surprise. This is the smallest scandal in the NBA. Whoever put out the media fire… Good on ya.

    -Manu is healthy and when he’s healthy he’s half man, half amazing. He’s what makes the Spurs truly special.

    -The Spurs are off to their best start in franchise history and if you can’t get excited about that… you have no pulse

    -It’s Novemebr and this is my first obscenely long post
    -Jim Henderson loves him som DeJuan Blair :)

  • Jim Henderson

    Dr. Who
    November 29th, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    Welcome back, Dr. Who. In retrospect the thought of going undefeated and never hearing from you again could have been really traumatic around here — I never thought I would be that happy with a loss!

    “I don’t think it is surprising to see his regression this year since he is playing against starting quality bigs. He’s not playing against the No 2’s off the bench. At this point it seem like he’s more well suited to do so and terrorize the No 2’s instead of the No. 1’s. We’re asking him to do too much by going up against the other team’s staring C/PF….”

    Have you ever noticed that one of the most important and fundamental ways anyone can ramp up their improvement the quickest when trying to improve at any sport is to play against competition that is better than yourself? I’m sure you have. The purpose of this tactic of course is defeated if one plays too much against players that are too much better than oneself. In other words, growing pains are good, but torture is counter-productive. And this is the fine line that Pop is straddling with Blair. It requires constant adjustments and reevaluations. So far Pop looks to be handling Blair’s development in the way one would expect from a coach with such long-term success in this league. In my view Blair is very much worth this kind of special attention & investment, and I think Pop’s actions suggests that he agrees. And it’s pretty hard to argue with 14-2.

  • Regan Rahardja

    Wow so many interesting comments and a very interesting debate.

    Heres my take.

    Trading for Randolph essentially for Blair is dumb. When Randolph’s profile reads that he needs work on heart and desire, thats already a no. I know that some people believe that when hes around the Spurs organization that he’ll have the best out of him. Thats probable. Stephen Jackson, Dennis Rodman in Chicago, Ron Artest (so far in LA) are some cases.

    Id add that for Randolph to develop and learn the Spurs system, and to break up the preexisting chemistry that Blair already has with the current team will be dumb. I also think that Blair has alot of potential, and someone brought up a comparison to the Scola situation. I know some people believe that Blair’s potential would be similar to Randolph’s except Randolph adds shotblocking – well my view to that is that Blair has heart and desire which Randolph doesn’t. That’s what I saw in RJ last year in his postgame interviews despite his inconsistent season. Blair has heart, desire, and character. Thats why hes a spur and he puts in work/and will put in more work.

    Blair really is a 4, and as many has highlighted, hes playing against starting 4/5s which is a level higher than what he’s normally accustomed to. He’s a very useful 4 in many situations – e.g. to spell Duncan at times and presents a very unique skillset/energy that is a very powerful x factor. He can influence games.

    Right now, Blair starting is the right decision as Splitter is still developing.

    Another issue i noticed from the comments is our concern for our lack of height/athletic ability and size. I think that if Splitter develops and Duncan in playoff form, which i think both of which will happen – and having Dyess in playoff form, Bonner in spot situations, and Blair for energy/rebounding/pick and rolls/putbacks – we should have enough to go pass LA and Boston provided we have the same kind of play we’re seeing from our guards and wings.

    The Drive for Five!!

  • Regan Rahardja

    I agree with one earlier comment made about Bonner that he’s thus far hasn’t produced much in the playoffs when the intensity is higher.

    I still think that hes a valuable player for us for the reason that he stretches the floor by usually demanding someone with length/athletic ability to contest his shot. Against a team like the Lakers or Celtics, having one of their bigs come out to defend him stretches the floor for our guards and RJ’s penetration different from having another shooter in Bonner’s place.

  • rob

    Jim Henderson

    “Randolph is very good in an up tempo offense. That’s where he showed his flashes at Golden State.”

    And a very good shot blocker/rim protector. Something yourself have been begging the Spurs to get.

    My quote:
    “Otherwise he’s as big of a liability to this team as Bonner when Bonner can’t make his shots.”

    Your response:
    “No offense, but that’s an absurd comment.”

    No offense taken and none meant to give in my rebutal.

    But lets look if it really is absurd.

    So far Blair has a problem guarding (without fouling) bigger/taller bigs around the rim…check

    Blair has a problem defending quicker PF out on the perimeter…check

    Blair hasn’t developed a consistent jump shot…check

    So if Blair hasn’t developed these qualities to be dependent upon to do reasonably well and garnish more time and the only thing he does well so far is rebound and make occasional steals….is that not the same as if Bonner isn’t hitting his 3 point shots to be a liability for the team because of the lack of ability to do other things well?

    Regarding the Knicks proposed trade…In D’Antoni’s system Blair’s assests would be beneficial to the Knicks more so than to the Spurs because he wouldn’t be relied upon or expected to do no other than what he’s already good at doing.

    And the lack of heart and desire tag being given to Randolph is based on who’s opinion? I’ve seen Randolph play with a lot of heart and desire. Matter of factly…some of his issues are quite the opposite of lack of…but more of trying to do too much. I’ve seen this kid try and take it upon his shoulders to carry a team. Frustration may be a better example…but I’ve never seen a lack of heart from Randolph.

    @syd
    Great point about Blair’s knees. Given his physical situation…is Blair truly going to last long enough to develop all that potential before his knees start breaking down. IMO…Blair’s window of opportunity has always been a small one in that regard.

    @spursfanbayarea

    “Before you go slamming fellow bloggers, please have your facts in order.”

    I don’t think Tim was “slamming” his fellow blogger.

    But with regards to the trade scenario…I’ve looked into the original proposal made by Timothy Varner and found the trade would be succesful without having to give up Udoka.

    Blair and Quinn + a first rounder for Randolph works just as well. And could be done now without waiting until the 15th.

  • Tim in Surrey

    Sigh. This is all so silly. I’m particularly surprised at this coming from Tim…

    First of all, everyone, Jim Henderson isn’t alone in thinking it’s a good idea to continue to invest a lot of minutes in Blair. I’ve been an advocate of Blair’s all season long. So if you’re looking for whipping boys, don’t gang up on him. Count me in, too.

    But I find this line of discussion very frustrating because you all seem to be desperately looking for downsides to the best start in team history! I guess I understand Tim doing that, because he’s got a blog to run. But more than anything else because so many of you just don’t seem to have a good understanding of what the Spurs are doing. This isn’t about who’s going to guard Rashard Lewis the best tonight. It’s about doing a good job on him while still developing the team.

    The Spurs had a long run as championship contenders, but it wasn’t actually a single run. They won their first title at the end of Robinson’s career with the addition of Duncan. But they didn’t win another one for four more years. Why? Because Robinson’s game was built around athleticism and as he aged he could no longer perform at All-Star levels. So they rebuilt the team around Duncan while maintaining a high level of success, but without seriously challenging the Lakers from 2000-02. It’s extraordinarily difficult to rebuild while winning, but they did it. Nobody gave Pop and RC much credit for this remarkable achievement, though, because they assumed it was due to Duncan’s dominance. But it took a lot more than just Tim to win a championship and they worked hard to add the necessary pieces while still playing at a high level.

    In 2003, having added Ginobili and Parker to Duncan, the Spurs went on a run of three titles in five years. So they did manage the near-impossible, rebuilding the team to a champion without going on an extended losing streak. But the thing is, until they actually beat the Nets, the fans didn’t really appreciate Ginobili, Parker, and Bowen.

    After the 2007 title, it quickly became clear that Duncan and Ginobili were starting to decline and the Spurs weren’t at that same level anymore. Since then, they have again tried to rebuild the team while maintaining a high level of success. Let’s remember that rebuilding while winning is the single greatest challenge in sports, much less basketball. And Popovich and Buford are among the few in any sport ever to have done it even once. So you’d think at least their fans would have a little faith that they know what the hell they’re doing. But no. Just like from 2000-03, there are always the doubters, making little tempests in little teapots. But if Pop had listened to those doubters, the Spurs would’ve had ONE championship and not four. I remember when the fans doubted Parker was the kind of point guard who could lead a team to a title (they came back with a vengeance when he was injured last year, even though he has an NBA Finals MVP trophy on his mantle!). And I remember when the fans doubted St. Manu, too. I remember when they howled about losing Derek Anderson, Steven Jackson, Malik Rose, Nazr Mohammed (after questioning why Pop was playing him in the first place!), Rasho Nesterovic (ditto), Beno Udrih (and again), on and on and on.

    So here’s the simple version: 1) Pop and RC know what they’re doing. 2) Other than Robinson and Duncan, every player who has been a key part of their championships has been doubted by the fans. 3) A lot of the players they’ve developed have blossomed after initial criticism. And finally 4) Against all expectations, the Spurs have added five talented young rotation players (Splitter, Hill, Blair, Anderson, and Neal) and two solid veterans (McDyess and Jefferson) over the last two years without giving away all their draft picks or breaking up their three big stars. This season they’re playing like contenders and have the best record and power ranking in the league. How then do you justify disagreeing with Pop on Blair’s playing time? Based on a couple of +/- analyses, when the worth of those statistical measurements as a tool for predicting the future has never really been demonstrated? I’ll stick with results, particularly the only +/- that really matters: The Spurs are +12 in the win/loss columns after only 16 games–even though they’ve invested time in a developing, 21-year old player. Can we just enjoy that for a while before changing the lineup?

  • Tim in Surrey

    @rob – No checks for you. I challenged every reader on this blog, after numerous complaints about Blair’s defense against the Clippers, to give me specific examples. I broke down the entire game and his defense graded out quite well and essentially equivalent to Splitter’s. The team played better on offense with Splitter in the game, but that’s not surprising given his advanced game when compared to Blair. But that’s why, as long as they’re winning, it actually makes more sense to play Blair. He needs more development. You’re right, of course, Blair did have some trouble with West and Lewis. But who doesn’t? That’s why those guys have been All-Stars, are paid 8-figure salaries, and start for playoff teams. They cause problems. But last time I checked, the Spurs have gone 2-1 against Orlando and New Orleans with Blair in the starting lineup. I’ll take it.

    Regarding Randolph: I’ve been watching him since he was at LSU. In my opinion, based on quite a few games, he’s vastly overrated. He reminds me in some ways of a predecessor at LSU, Stromile Swift. They show flashes of talent but don’t have the ability to consistently play at a high level mentally nor the determination to develop their games. Randolph is essentially the same player now that he was as a 19-year old at LSU, despite working with Mike D’Antoni and Don Nelson for several years now. Another similar guy from LSU, Tyrus Thomas, has finally made some big strides this year under Larry Brown, so maybe Pop could reach Randolph in the same way. He does still have a world of potential. But if I was RC I wouldn’t make this trade.

    The most amazing thing of all, though, is that you guys are actually suggesting that the Spurs should trade Blair because of his knees! Well, that puts you on the side of the argument with the John Paxsons, Rod Thorns, and Billy Kings of the league and I have no intention of following that group. The fact is that Blair played in 72 of 72 possible games in two years at Pittsburgh and has played in 98 of 98 possible games for the Spurs. Randolph, meanwhile, missed 19 games as a rookie, and 49 games last year. Again, you’re looking at potential. I’m looking at results.

  • Tom S.

    What about calling New Jersey and seeing what they want for Derrick Favors? We’ll need another big at some point, and I wonder if the Nets would be willing to part with him.

  • ITGuy

    In the meantime, the Spurs have the best record in the league and most is well in Spurs land.

    As Tim in Surrey said; “Can we just enjoy that for a while before changing the lineup?”

    And please, no more “trade Tony” comments!

    Go Spurs Go!!

  • http://www.bpifanconnect.com Alix Babaie

    Tim in Surrey has said it best, don’t jack with a good thing. Pop and RC know what they are doing, they have never given away the farm to improve the team.

    Even when they traded for R-Jeff, although they suffered last year with that albatross of a contract, they were fortunate when R-Jeff opted out. They got him back for a steal of a price @ $9.5m and he is making them look as brilliant as ever.

    Swiping Dejuan @ #37 away from all of the other NBA teams, who had ample opportunity to acquire him before our beloved Spurs has got to be the biggest acquisition in the 2nd round since, well, identifying Manu Ginobili and Luis Scola in the 2nd round of their drafts.

    This team is light years ahead of everyone else in the league and we are so lucky that Pop and RC run the Spurs and not some of the knuckleheads that post on this blog.

    Keep this team as is, make some added adjustments as the season progresses and let the chips fall where they may…which should be in the Spurs floating down the river in June followed by hanging up banner #5 @ the AT&T Center!

  • spursfanbayarea

    @rob

    “Blair and Quinn + a first rounder for Randolph works just as well. And could be done now without waiting until the 15th.”

    Sorry but you are incorrect. This trade would not be allowed until 90 days after quinn signed. Quinn signed Nov 5,2010 so would not be eligible until 90 days after that. So Quinn would not be allowed to be put into a trade until Feb. Please refer to exact excerpt of the CBA.
    The exact words of the CBA are “(d) Except as set forth in Section 8(e) below: (1) no player who signs a Contract as a Free Agent may be traded before the later of (i) three (3) months following the date on which
    such Contract was signed or (ii) the December 15 of the Salary Cap Year in which such Contract
    was signed”.

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Timothy Varner

    @Spursfanbayarea,

    the OR between clause i and ii allow for a Quinn trade on or after December 15.

    @Rob,

    The Spurs have to wait until the 15th to move Quinn.

    Moving Quinn, by the way, is purely hypothetical. There is no indication from the Spurs that they are entertaining moving anyone.

  • ITGuy

    “There is no indication from the Spurs that they are entertaining moving anyone.”

    “This team is light years ahead of everyone else in the league and we are so lucky that Pop and RC run the Spurs and not some of the knuckleheads that post on this blog.”

    No more trade comments, you’re wasting everyone’s time.

    Go Spurs Go!!

  • jwalt

    @Jim Henderson — you gave impressive numbers to defend your statement that everyone was equally bad covering West in the first quarter, but I still argue that Blair was the worst. By the time he left the game West was on a roll, and it would have taken a young Kevin Garnett to slow him down by that point.

    Blair provided West with the feeling that he was “in the zone” by the time Pop took him out.

    But I certainly enjoy reading your posts.

  • jwalt

    And I agree with ITguy, the Spurs should stand pat, this is their best roster since Bowen and Horry were able to make a positive contribution.

  • syd

    @ Tim in Surrey

    “The most amazing thing of all, though, is that you guys are actually suggesting that the Spurs should trade Blair because of his knees! Well, that puts you on the side of the argument with the John Paxsons, Rod Thorns, and Billy Kings of the league and I have no intention of following that group. The fact is that Blair played in 72 of 72 possible games in two years at Pittsburgh and has played in 98 of 98 possible games for the Spurs. Randolph, meanwhile, missed 19 games as a rookie, and 49 games last year. Again, you’re looking at potential. I’m looking at results.”

    While I agree with much of your post prior to this point, I think you’re off base here. Those of us who are concerned about Blair’s knees and his long-term viability aren’t “on the side of the argument with the John Paxsons, Rod Thorns, and Billy Kings of the league” so much as we are acknowledging the medical facts surrounding Blair’s condition.

    Billy King, Rod Thorn and John Paxson (or Sam Presti or Danny Ainge, for that matter) having a particular opinion about a player is not automatically a reason to kneejerk react in agreement or opposition.

    If you’ll recall, the Spurs front office also passed on the opportunity to draft DeJuan in the first round. They clearly had the same concerns as everyone else but decided it was worth rolling the dice at 37.

    No one is disputing Blair’s tougness or work ethic and I think it’s fantastic that he’s been so durable so far. But that’s not really relevant to the point I’m making, which is that looming joint health issues are an inevitability for Blair, not a possibility.

    Now admittedly, almost all professional basketball players can expect knee-related issues over the course of a career, especially bigger players. Tim is dealing with them now. But the medical consensus for a thick post-oriented basketball player with no ACLs is that he’s operating on borrowed time and the clock is likely to tick out much sooner rather than later.

    I’m simply suggesting that in light of that, we keep our options open. We should of course continue to develop Blair to make him as complete a player as possible, both to help the Spurs and to make him more valuable to other teams. Whether he starts or comes off the bench, I think finding him 15 minutes a night will benefit us more than it hurts us against most teams.

    But any talk of a post-Duncan era frontcourt that prominently includes Blair in the discussion is not operating based on the evidence offered through due dilligence. It is based on rosy hopes. And that’s no way to run a team.

    For now, his strengths and his ridiculously favorable contract allow the team to be patient. Even if he averages 10 minutes a game all season, we’re ahaead of the game in terms of what one typically expects from a 2nd round, undersized post player with iffy knees.

    But my hope is that over the course of the next year or so, the Spurs (as I’m certain they will) seriously consider any trade scenario that allows us to bring in a young-ish quality rotation big. Blair is a useful piece for the right team. But I’m skeptical that he’s a long-term piece for any team.

    The team being 14-2 is awesome. But it is not primarily a function of what DeJuan Blair is doing on the court. And our current record should not be an impediment to making moves, either now or later, that improve our competitiveness.

  • spursfanbayarea

    @Tim
    Sorry but it states the LATER of the two. I see you are going to go the Jim Henderson route of never admitting to be wrong. Sad to see one of the heads of this blog being non-objective and interpreting things in his own biased manner.

    “Udoka, you see, is the last free agent signed for 2010-11 who can be included in a trade this season. The NBA’s annual trading deadline falls on Feb. 24. Since free agents can’t be traded until 90 days after signing, any player signed after Nov. 24 can’t be dealt. And Udoka, for the record, can only be moved on deadline day.”-Mark Stein ESPN

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Timothy Varner

    @Spursfanbayarea,

    I wasn’t trying to be snarky, and I’m certainly not afraid to admit when I’m wrong. Here watch: you’re right. I was wrong. I misunderstood the rule. Udoka can’t be traded until February 24.

    I’m still a dork; I’m just not very good at it. And you read way too much into my “own biased manner.” It was more a case of sloppy reading and plain ignorance.

  • Hobson13

    Alix Babaie
    November 30th, 2010 at 7:13 am
    “This team is light years ahead of everyone else in the league and we are so lucky that Pop and RC run the Spurs and not some of the knuckleheads that post on this blog.”

    I wish I felt the same way about the Spurs, but let’s be realistic about our expectations. We are off to an unreal start, but we are not “light years ahead” of the Lakers and Celtics. We still very much need another shot blocking 7-footer hence Tim’s trade suggestion.

    syd
    November 30th, 2010 at 9:09 am
    “The team being 14-2 is awesome. But it is not primarily a function of what DeJuan Blair is doing on the court. And our current record should not be an impediment to making moves, either now or later, that improve our competitiveness.”

    Well said. Our fast start has virtually nothing to do with Blair’s production on the court. The Blair apologist’s conveniently dismiss the facts that he is playing slightly more minutes than last year and yet his scoring and rebounding have fallen. As you said, a team can’t sit on their ass just because they have the best record at the moment.

    Look, I love Blair and think he has great potential several years down the road, but he is not untouchable and if you can pick up two young pieces (Randolph and Walker) for the price of Blair and a late 1st round pick, then the FO would take a serious look at that opportunity.