More Minutes for DeJuan Blair

After last night’s double-double performance against the Philadelphia 76ers, DeJuan Blair proved he can definitely play in the NBA and be a presence for the Spurs. He is not your typical NBA power forward, in fact he is undersized for his position and is playing with ACL-less knees.

However, in his first 14 games in the NBA, Blair proved he can produce with limited playing time averaging 5.6 points and 5.2 rebounds in just 14.6 minutes per game.

Blair’s Per Game Stats (through 14 games)

PLAYER

FG%

3P%

MIN

PTS

OFF

DEF

TOT

AST

STL

BLK

DeJuan Blair

.583

.000

14.6

5.6

1.6

3.6

5.2

0.9

0.14

0.36

There are reasons why Coach Pop is giving him limited minutes. For one, Pop always seem to prefer to use his veterans over the younger players in his rotations.

blairreverse2Not only that, Antonio McDyess is playing solid as the starting center, Theo Ratliff has been solid with limited minutes at the defensive end and Matt Bonner has been a pleasant surprise at the offensive end.

In other words, most of the Spurs’ big men are playing good basketball.

But does that mean Blair should be given lesser minutes? He can definitely rebound, he is playing efficient basketball — shooting 58% from the field.

Also he is a young player loaded with talent. Giving him more time on floor might help develop his skills and improve his basketball instincts.

Don’t get me wrong, McDyess, Bonner and Ratliff provide some veteran presence and toughness in the paint.  But it’s worth noting if the Spurs try to use Blair’s Per 48 Minutes stats, he might have a case.

Spurs’ Bigs Per 48 Minutes Stats (through 14 games)

PLAYER

FG%

3P%

MIN

PTS

OFF

DEF

TOT

AST

STL

BLK

DeJuan Blair

.583

.000

14.6

18.4

5.2

12.0

17.2

2.8

0.47

1.18

Matt Bonner

.471

.474

20.7

19.5

3.0

7.8

10.8

3.1

0.33

0.33

Antonio McDyess

.519

.000

22.0

16.3

4.7

9.1

13.8

1.8

1.17

0.84

Theo Ratliff

.462

.000

8.8

8.5

3.0

6.7

9.7

1.8

0.00

6.68

This is not to say he could be better option over the other Spurs’ big men. Blair after all is still a rookie, is learning the ropes and he still has some issues staying out of foul trouble.

dejuanblair02

But Blair is learning quickly, has the right attitude, a good knack for the ball and brings in a lot of energy to the game. And given more the opportunity, he has performed better.  In the preseason games, he was solid and in some of those games he was impressive and even dominant.

Blair’s Preseason numbers

PLAYER

FG%

3P%

MIN

PTS

OFF

DEF

TOT

AST

STL

BLK

DeJuan Blair

.630

.000

17.7

13.8

3.0

4.85

7.85

1.14

1.85

0.14

The stats show it all.  Blair has the right tools and talent to make himself better. Giving him more playing time could only help him to get comfortable with the system and improve his game. And what would be a better time for this than early in the season where rotations are not clearly set.

What do you think? Should Blair be given more minutes? Which player does Pop take minutes from or is 15 minutes just about right for him. Give us your thoughts.

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