After losing Trevor Booker to the Utah Jazz, the Washington Wizards didn’t waste much time in finding a replacement. Kris Humphries was ultimately the first big man they signed, but they also acquired DeJuan Blair on a two year deal.
DeJuan Blair has been linked to the Washington Wizards for quite some time, so it’s no surprise that he ultimately ended up in the nation’s capital. Like Booker, Blair is known for his energy and rebounding, but to get a better perspective on him, I contacted Rami Michail (@RamiMichail) of FanSided’s The Smoking Cuban (Dallas Mavericks site).
Rami has covered the Mavericks for The Smoking Cuban and he’s pretty familiar with DeJuan Blair and his game. He took the time to answer a few questions about Blair. Enjoy.
Ben Mehic: Despite being undersized for his position, DeJuan Blair doesn’t seem to have a problem rebounding the ball. Will he be able to replace Trevor Booker’s productivity in that aspect, and is rebounding Blair’s biggest asset?
Rami Michail: DeJuan Blair has never had a problem rebounding, which is probably why it is his greatest asset. Yeah, he’s short in stature, but he makes up for it with his width and relentless work down low. He’s able to use his low center of gravity to move bodies and get in great rebounding position.
DeJuan Blair shot the ball ‘OK’ from inside the paint and was well below league average from the mid-range area with the Dallas Mavericks this past season. How will he be able to contribute on the offensive side of the floor?
If it isn’t a layup or his go-to floater, you really don’t want him shooting the ball. The closer he is to the basket the better.
His wide body make him a great option in the pick-n-roll, so expect plenty of those with John Wall. Outside of the PnR, he gets most of his points off of offensive put backs.
Honestly, if it isn’t a easy look, you don’t really want the ball in DeJuan Blair’s hands. He has a tendency to force up shots and cutbacks, and with his lack of height, it’s easy for his shots to be altered.
What are DeJuan Blair’s biggest strengths and weaknesses?
His strengths are easily his ability to crash the offensive boards and set screens. He also has great hands. He won’t block many, if any, shots, but he gets plenty of steals because of his ability to read passes and poke the ball away from post players.
As for weaknesses, DeJuan Blair’s lack of height can easily be exposed by bigger and stronger bigs. His inability to contest shots can lead to plenty of open looks. Despite being a great rebounder, these bigger centers can out reach him for plenty of rebounds.
And finally, if you could, just give us a summary of what we should expect from DeJuan Blair next season.
The Wizards’ frontline is stacked and consist of some similar skillets. Nene and Marcin Gortat should be the starters and take the majority of the minutes. Along with Blair, the roster consists of Kris Humphries, Drew Gooden and Kevin Seraphin, so it’ll be interesting to see which bigs are in/out of the rotation.
If DeJuan Blair is in the rotation, except him to set plenty of screens to free Wall, Bradley Beal, and himself up for some looks. While I believe he’s best next to a big who can spread the court, the Wizards style should allow him to fit next to Gortat and Nene easily as Brooker did.
Thanks to Rami for doing this short Q&A on DeJuan Blair. For more of his work, check out The Smoking Cuban.
DeJuan Blair seems to be a perfect fit for the Washington Wizards and Ernie Grunfeld undoubtedly made the right move by letting Booker go, and replacing replacing him with a cheaper but possibly even more effective player. I look forward to watching Blair do what he does in a Washington Wizards uniform.