Matt Tynan, of the Spurs blogs 48 Minutes of Hell and Pounding the Rock, was kind enough to sit down with me for a couple of DeJuan Blair questions. Without further ado:
1) He had fewer minutes last year than before. Tiago being so good, or were there other issues?
Tiago's improvement and just the front-court depth in general were all factors here, but a drop in performance had something to do with it as well. He had a weird relationship with Popovich in which the two would grow frustrated with one another at times, with much of that stemming from a lack of playing time. Still, he just hasn't been the chaotic, high-energy guy he was his rookie season in recent years, and I'm not exactly sure why. We whisper about his no-ACL-having knees already having an effect on him, but given his limited time on the court and periodic flashes of fun, I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. Also because, ugh, knees.
2) Easy to love DeJuan Blair from afar, pops off the bench and mixes it up on the o-boards. Are we going to love him for 82 games or do you get pretty introduced to his flaws?
He'll have his endearing moments for the Mavs when he sees the court, which I'm guessing will happen more than it did in SA. But there will be plenty of YOLO Mavs moments, too. In fact, DeJuan Blair is one of the league's greatest YOLO-ers, so there will be plenty of fun to be had by all. Oh and on top of that, he's really bad defensively! So, yay, he fits right in! But in all seriousness, he's an above average 'energy guy,' which means he is more skilled than your typical 'energy guy.' He's a solid, willing passer, he'll force a few turnovers and he's hectic on the offensive boards. Hopefully a change of scenery will be good for him, because he is fairly clever and talented.
3) From an outsider's perspective, where do you see Blair fitting with Dirk, Wright, Dalembert, James?
Blair will be in the mix all season for the backup front court, all injuries and inconsistencies considered. It will be interesting to watch him play with some of the lengthier Dallas players, because his size can really become an issue inside. The Blair/Bonner pairings were terrifying defensively, so it's good to have the flexibility to cover him up on that side of the ball. The guy will play any role this season, everything. from rotation player to mismatch guy to spark plug. So he'll find his way on the court with some regularity, I'd guess.