I know it's late (okay way too late...) But I'd still like to mention it. Prior to the 2009 draft, Tim Varner from 48 Minutes Of Hell (or is it Graydon?) said this quote, "Unless someone like DeJuan Blair slides and the Spurs can buy/trade up to get him, I don’t expect the team to draft a power forward. But they can be crazy deceptive like that."
Then amazingly on draft night, DeJuan Blair who was projected as a lottery pick (as high as #11), falls into the waiting arms of the San Antonio Spurs at #37. Unthinkable but it happened. Most teams passed on him because of an MRI revealed that he has no ACL. But still, this guy can undoubtedly contribute to an NBA team. I mean he manhandled 7'3" and No. 2 pick Hasheem Thabeet in his college days.
Now Blair is a Spur, and he has something to prove. His big chip on the shoulder can only help. After the draft he actually said this "I've got a poster of the whole draft. I'm going to check off every team that passed on me." (I think this will actually help him play better).
Will he be able to contribute this coming season? Buford said this about him "He fills a big hole, We still need size. We still need more bigs. But to think we'd be able to add a guy who can come in and contribute right away, in a specific need, through our draft pick — that was kind of a reach going in." So what exactly can we expect from him?
First let's look at his numbers from last year:
15.7 ppg 12.3 rpg 1.2 apg 1.5 spg and 1 bpg / 59 FG%, 60% FT% in 27 mins
Based on these numbers, let's assume he'll play around 15-20 mins. Blair might be able to produce around 7 pts and 6 rebs a night. (I'm not saying this would be accurate, I'm just projecting). Now the big question is, will he be able to translate his game to another level? That remains to be seen.
But as a Spurs fan, we have a lot of reason to be optimistic.
Let's dig in deeper. Blair is a high efficiency guy that likes to mix it up inside. His ability to establish position in post is great prompting coach Don Newman to call him 'Space Eater', in short he knows how use his body. He's also good at setting up screens, a high energy guy and is tough, competitive and aggressive. He already has an NBA body with excellent (freakish) wingspan and more importantly he has a nose to get those rebounds (offensively and defensively).
What about his weaknesses? His ability to create own shot is limited, no advanced post moves yet, his back to basket scoring is not fully developed (good thing we have TD to teach him), his ability to defend position at next level is still in question mainly because of his lack of height, lacks defensive fundamentals (Spurs system and Coach Pop will make him better in this regard), lacks lateral quickness, conditioning (his weight could be a problem, and has no ACL, hope he stays healthy!) , free throw shooting (60% is bad!), and His jump shot is still unreliable. (we have Chip to fix that).
If we weigh things, I'd say his style of play fits the Spurs and his weaknesses are all correctable, after the training camp he will be a ready contributor. I'm not saying that he will have the same impact like Manu or Tony, in fact the Spurs don't see him as a starter this upcoming season. But what I'm sure is this guy can play, and can definitely be a solid rotation player. And with the current Spurs lineup, that would be enough.. Additional punch off the bench, additional grit, additional energy, additional hustle...