DeJuan Blair has been the San Antonio Spurs starting center for the better part of the last two seasons. During that time the Spurs have owned the league’s second best record.
Still, come the end of the regualr season and the playoffs, Blair has fallen out of the starting line up and in some cases out of the rotation completely. Blair is currently in Las Vegas working out with Team USA as a member of the Select Team. The San Antonio Express News’ Mike Monroe caught up with Blair, who said he thinks he’ll be wearing another jersey by the time the 2012-2013 season starts and that falling out of the Spurs rotation was rough on him.
“I love the Spurs, but they’ve got a lot of ‘bigs,’ and they’re bringing somebody else from overseas, so where am I going to fall at?” he said. “I was out of the rotation at the end of the season, so imagine next year. That’s something I really don’t want to go through again, because it tore me down.”
The “big” Blair is referring to is Erazem Lorbek but it seems he will not be coming to San Antonio after all so maybe he will be sticking around a bit longer.
However, Blair added that he loves the Spurs organization and that he grew up a lot through the highs and lows of last season. The 23 year old is entering the final year of his contract. The low dollar figure and the fact that it’s expiring could make Blair an attractive piece to trade for, though he likely wouldn’t get the Spurs a ton back.
This also isn’t a huge surprise to anyone since it was reported that the Spurs were shopping him around the time of the NBA Draft. But let’s examine Blair’s point. The Spurs have been an excellent basketball team with him in their rotation and not as good record wise, though the sample size is smaller and the level of competition tougher. Is this just an example of bad matchups? Normally I’d say yes, but Blair has been great against both the Thunder and Clippers throughout this career. Last season against Memphis was another story, that was just an awful match up for him. This year I think the Spurs were on such a roll at the end of the season, Coach Popovich didn’t want to mess with rotation. Against the Thunder, I think Pop tried to match the Thunder’s small line up and again, with Duncan on the court, Blair was the odd man out.
Blair did sound very professional throughout the interview. He was clearly confused and upset about the lack of playing time (and really the lack of trust) he received at the end of each of the last two seasons, but he is saying the right things now and if you noticed was a fantastic teammate throughout the entire postseason run. I also think Blair presumes too much about the Spurs’ offseason. What if Boris Diaw doesn’t re-sign with the Spurs? I wouldn’t be surprised if Blair is on a different team by the team next season starts, but I also won’t be surprised if he’s the starting “center” for the San Antonio Spurs.