DeJuan Blair: Spurs Would Have Beaten Heat in 2013 Finals If I Played More

Stephen BabbFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2013

DeJuan Blair isn't looking fondly on his first four seasons with the San Antonio Spurs. He's looking for revenge.

According to the Dallas Morning News (via Project Spurs), the undersized power forward thinks his former employers are—and were—missing out: 

When asked about getting back to the NBA Finals, Blair, "Of course I want to get back. I don’t think we’ve [Spurs] would have came up short if I would’ve played but, hey, keep that out there."

If returning to those Finals with this Dallas roster seems unlikely, it's probably worth remembering how little confidence observers initially had in the 2010-11 edition. And we all know how that turned out.

Blair's sense of entitlement is both understandable and undeserved.

Selected with the 37th-overall pick in 2009, he quickly worked his way into Gregg Popovich's rotation as a rookie, even starting 23 games and posting a productive 7.8 points and 6.4 rebounds in over 18 minutes a game. That kind of energy translated into 127 regular-season starts in each of the next two seasons.

Soon enough, however, Blair's relationship with the organization became more complicated. His minutes virtually disappeared in each of San Antonio's postseason pushes, and by 2012-13 he'd been replaced in the starting lineup by Tiago Splitter (after Boris Diaw had taken the gig over toward the end of the 2011-12 campaign).

Part of that had to do with Blair's size. He wasn't tall enough to provide much defensive resistance at the rim, and he wasn't a good enough shooter to space the floor on offense. That meant Popovich turned to Splitter when he wanted defense, Diaw or Matt Bonner when he wanted to spread the floor.

Despite his energy and scoring ability in the paint, Blair was crowded out by role players who played more essential roles.

In turn, Blair eventually came to venting on Twitter.

So we probably shouldn't be surprised he has a score to settle. 

And nor should we be surprised the Dallas Mavericks have gladly given him the opportunity.