It's Too Soon for San Antonio Spurs to Give Up on DeJuan Blair
DeJuan Blair's career with the Spurs has certainly been a roller coaster. Being just a second round pick, not much was expected of the Pittsburgh product initially, however, he—like every other Spurs late round pick—blossomed into what many considered one of the biggest steals of the draft.
The next season, Blair found himself as the team's starting center, a title which he carried through the 2011's nonexistent offseason and into the beginning of the regular season.
It seemed almost too good to be true—and eventually it was. After the acquisition of Boris Diaw, Blair soon found his time spent on the bench, with his appearances on court being rare and brief.
Now, entering the 2012-13 season, it appears as though the roller coaster ride is far from over.
During the summer, multiple reports about a potential trade involving the big man surfaced, and while the rumors are yet to disappear, no official deals have been reported.
However, if the Spurs are smart, they'll pull his name from the block immediately, as Blair simply has demonstrated enough talent and value to remain a Spur.
Often criticized for his "small" frame and liability on defense, many forget that while his size may appear to limit him in some areas, he still remains a scoring threat, as well as one of the best rebounders on the team.
Blair thrived during the games in which his playing time was not limited and, by doing so on multiple occasions, he proved that his success was not a fluke.
Yet, the Spurs soon found reason to bench him, and while the emergence of Diaw may explain their decision to a certain extent, one thing still remains very unclear to me:
If the Spurs are afraid to play Blair due to his inability to compete on defense, then why does Matt Bonner receive quality minutes each night?
Bonner is a much larger problem, though his size may appear to give him an advantage over Blair. Despite being 6'11'', Bonner is a non-factor on the boards and cannot defend opponents who display even an iota of athleticism.
For some reason though, his spot on the roster has gone unquestioned, whereas Blair—who brings much more to the team—is yet to secure his spot.
Should an offer come around that is just too good to turn down, then by all means the Spurs should take it. That goes without saying in all instances, not just Blair's.
However, it does not seem as though they will receive anything more than a pick or another bench guy, and keeping Blair to provide a rebounding spark seems like the ideal choice.
Diaw may have won the starting job, but if Popovich is interested in playing someone who may be a liability on defense, the easy choice should be Blair, not Bonner.
He still can be a factor and he hasn't done enough wrong to receive the treatment that he currently experiences on a daily basis. Should the Spurs find themselves in need of a quality rebounder, Pop shouldn't think twice about giving the big man another chance.
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