DeJuan Blair, who remains a free-agent after spending 4 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, has reportedly gotten some interest from the Washington Wizards. Washington has an influx of young forwards on their bench, so the possibility of adding another big man to the roster is intriguing, to say the least.
Like many of you, I’m surprised that the Wizards are interested in Blair, especially since they have a number of players on the team which bring similar skill-sets to the table. I contacted Michael Rehome (@texasgmr), the editor of Air Alamo, FanSided’s San Antonio Spurs site, to get a little more info on Blair. Michael has been covering the Spurs for quite a long time, so I’m hoping this helps shed some light on Blair’s situation in San Antonio.
Ben Mehic: At one point in his career, DeJuan Blair looked to become a key piece in San Antonio going forward in the future. He was actually their starting center during the majority of his second and third seasons in the NBA, but then fell into complete obscurity this past season. What changed? Did the emergence of Tiago Splitter impact the amount of time he got on the floor, or did other things factor into it?
Michael Rehome: I do think that the emergence of Tiago Splitter and being able to play and learn from Tim Duncan was a big reason for Blair not getting the playing time he had when he was a starter. I honestly don’t feel that it was anything that Blair did that triggered Gregg Poppovich to pull him from the starting lineup and limit his playing time or lack thereof.
When Poppovich has something in mind, he wants to run with it. Granted, there were times when I myself was questioning the decision of starting Splitter over Blair.
He saw something, which is why he gets paid to make those decisions and I, well get to voice my opinion on it.
BM: Blair is a bit undersized for his position, but he still managed to put up outstanding rebounding numbers during the first few years of his career. His total rebounding rate was actually comparable to some of the league’s most tenacious rebounders (Omer Asik, Nikola Vucevic, Zach Randolph, etc). What makes Blair an above average rebounding big man, and would you say that’s his biggest asset?
MR: Good question. He was passed up by many in the draft not only because of his size but also having surgery on both knees. Spurs took the chance and he did manage to compete at such a high level. I think what makes him be an above average rebounder is the fact he has a nose for the ball. When he sees it go up, he positions himself well enough to get an advantage to grab the rebound. His energy and physical play for as “small” as he is helps him in rebounding. You can say that it is his biggest asset. He doesn’t score much, he is always around the ball and makin things happen for the team.
BM: Washington was reportedly interested in acquiring Blair through a sign and trade with the Spurs. The only players they’d likely be willing to offer are Trevor Booker and Chris Singleton. Do either of those guys intrigue you? They seem to benefit from virtually the same things as Blair, so I’m not sure how a trade involving either of those players would be considered an upgrade for San Antonio.
MR: I do have to agree with you. Both Booker and Singleton can and have done what Blair already does, so, I am not sure it would be good for San Antonio to trade off and get two players that can give you what you already know Blair could.
BM: As outsiders looking in, we always have predetermined opinions about certain players, especially since we haven’t got to see them play nearly as much as someone like you has covering the team. What are some misconceptions people tend to have about Blair’s game?
MR: Some misconceptions about Blair could possible be that some have said he is not a hard worker he doesn’t care as much as he did when he was a starter for the team. I can be the first to say all those are wrong. Blair can give you five minutes, 10 minutes or even 20 minutes, you know you will always get the same outcome from him. He plays harder than anyone on the floor. You will get everything that he has, one way or another he will put his stamp on the game.
BM: In your opinion, why hasn’t Blair gotten much attention in free-agency thus far? Were the issues with his knee still a concern in San Antonio?
MR: I have say here and thought the same thing on why he has not gotten much push during free agency this far. I don’t feel that his knees are of any concern, or shouldn’t be for any team looking at him as he has proven through past seasons, neither he worries about them. He just goes out and does work.
BM: Finally, give us the wrap up of DeJuan Blair and what he could possibly bring to the nation’s capital.
MR: Personally, DeJuan Blair is a player that I have been following since his days at Pittsburgh. He played with the same style there as he brought to San Antonio. He is a hard worker and you can’t help but see that he lays it all out on the floor.
I feel he will bring maturity and knowing how to win to Washington. The Wizards have a bright future and if they were to make it to the playoffs, you will have a veteran player whom has been there and done that and will know how to lead the team.
I want to thank Michael Rehome for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer some of our questions regarding DeJuan Blair and the San Antonio Spurs. Hopefully this helped shed some light on Blair’s situation with the Spurs.
Make sure to please give Michael a follow on Twitter (@texasgmr) and check out Air Alamo.