Can DeJuan Blair Be A Mavs Bargain?
The Dallas Mavericks are in the process of signing DeJuan Blair to a minimum deal that would pay him $947,907 for the 2013-14 season.
Blair himself seems happy about it, tweeting at midday on Tuesday, "Dallas!!!!! Now lets have some fun!!!! (At this writing, the signing is not official, though owner Mark Cuban's retweet of Blair might suggest The Tony Cubes Seal of Approval.)
Blair, 24, was drafted with the seventh pick in the second round by the Spurs. At one time he was a projected late lottery pick, but there has always been concerns about his knees (he has no ACL's) and about his lack of height.
But as our Kammrath points out, Blair just uner 6-7 and at nearly 270 pounds with the in-the-lane skillset to play center and power forward -- has a massive wingspan and therefore is capable of playing much bigger than that height.
Some Standing Reach shop-and-compares:
Blair: 8 feet, 10.5 inches
Bernard James: 9 feet, 0.5 inches
Brandan Wright: 9 feet, 0.5 inches
Milsap: 8 feet, 9.5 inches
Josh Smith: 8 feet, 10.5 inches
Blake Griffin: 8 feet, 9 inches
David Lee: 8-10.5
Blair's wingspan has allowed him to average 7.8 points and 5.8 rebounds in 18.9 minutes per game during his four seasons in San Antonio as a part-time starter who fell into Pop's doghouse last year. So he's long of reach and wide of body and has a nasty streak of sorts.
Oh, and regarding his much-discussed knees? DB.com's Jeff Stotts notes that in his four year career, Blair has missed a total of just two games due to knee-related problems or any sort.
He can play some power forward minutes behind Dirk, Wright and Marion, when Shawn switches over. He can do the same at center behind Dalembert and possibly in competition with Wright and James. But the rebounding numbers are down -- below ideal the last two years with less than 10 boards per 36 mins). And while he could slide right into the role vacated by Elton Brand -- and roll to the hole in a Dallas offense that will include ballhandling starting guards Monta and Calderon, who can use him as Manu used to -- he comes to town with some questions.
Most of all: If the Spurs don't like you, should anyone like you?
As a rookie, he offered up a 28-point, 21-rebound effort against Oklahoma City. That's when the near-blue-chip pedigree shown at Pitt revealed itself.
But especially this past year, Tiago Splitter took up his minutes inside and he was no longer Duncan's "caddie.'' There are whispers of Blair's attitude having gone bad, though late last year, Pop said, ""DeJuan's been very professional. I haven't played him very much at all and he's stayed in shape, he's ready to go, he's part of the team.''
The Mavs are not trying to collect bad apples. (Thus, zero interest in Tyrus Thomas.) They are interested in DeJuan Blakr being "ready to go'' as part of this team.