Jan 25, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward DeJuan Blair (45) is fouled on the shot by Dallas Mavericks forward Jae Crowder (9) at the American Airlines Center. The Spurs beat the Mavs 113-107. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
This is no surprise to San Antonio Spurs fans that have followed this team and DeJuan Blair’s career here. From a guy that has been a starter in the past, to not seeing any time on the floor, to seeing limited playing time, we all can come to realize (as he does too) that his days in San Antonio are pretty well numbered.
Everyone, including myself, thought that Blair could have been dealt during the final hours of the trade deadline but as we know, nothing happened. Mike Monroe over at Spurs Nation wrote a great article on DeJuan Blair and how he savors his final days as a Spur. I don’t know how many of you feel out there about Blair but I wanted to give you my opinion on him.
If you were in his shoes, being a starter as I stated, then not seeing the floor at all for games, but then get your number called, how would you take it? Would you perform at the top of your game or just say the hell with it? With Blair, as I stated, this has happened. No matter if he is starting, or his number is getting called late in games, he does one thing that I truly love about him. He plays as if it were his last game. He pours his heart out on the floor and I know that is why he is so respected in the locker room by the players.
Since arriving in the 2009 draft, Blair has started 165 of the 268 games he has played in silver and black. Each season, he also has seen his role dwindle in the playoffs. As we talked about the trade deadline approaching on February 21st, Blair and his agent were hoping that he would be moved. When that didn’t happen, his agent sought a buyout of a remaining few weeks of a $1.05 million contract. If this were to happen by March 1st, teams that were looking for a tough nosed player would of got their hands on Blair. What was the reason? According to the report by Monroe, Blair stated why he thought the Spurs did not do the buyout.
“I wouldn’t think they’d want me to show up in (Oklahoma City),” he said.
Mar 6, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward DeJuan Blair (center) drives for the basket between Chicago Bulls guard Daequan Cook (front) and center Nazr Mohammed (behind) during the first half at the AT
Head Coach Gregg Popovich also talked about Blair in that same report:
“This is his contract year, and I’m sure he’s getting some advice from other places that is a little bit different from the advice we’re giving him, let’s say.”
“He’s been upbeat, been a good teammate with everybody whether he plays or sits. He’s practiced hard, been ready when he’s come in the game, just like a Steve Kerr, always ready when you called on him.
One Spur that can relate to what Blair is going through is that of Manu Ginobili, who has been mostly a player that comes off of the bench his career.
“He misses a few games for DNP (Did Not Play),” Ginobili said of Blair. “He was out of the rotation. And as soon as he gets called to play, he performs. It’s not easy to do. It’s very important on a big team that wants to go far, to have players like that.”
To those players in the NBA that need to take a page out of someones book that keeps is professionalism and performs when his number is called, just look at DeJuan Blair.