Back in 2009, DeJuan Blair was slated to be a first round pick. He was even projected as a lottery pick by some draft analysts.
And then he went 37th overall in the second round.
His current coach now, Rick Carlisle, went on to say this:
“He was a great pick. My understanding is there were rumors of physical problems that allowed him to drop. But he’s a fine player [with a] physical presence, athleticism, toughness, and he’s played well so far. He’s going to be a good player here for a long time.”
Drafted ahead of him were players such as Christian Eyenga, Rodrigue Beaubois, Jermaine Taylor, and DaJuan Summers, none of which are currently in the NBA.
Once the Spurs selected Blair, he went on record saying that all 29 teams that passed on selecting him would pay the price on the court. In reality, only 25 different teams passed on him, but the point there is that DeJuan Blair was out for revenge.
As a San Antonio Spur, Blair found his niche as a high-energy player who scored and rebounded at efficient rates. Unfortunately for him, the emergence of Tiago Splitter and the acquisition of Boris Diaw took away his spot in the rotation, and his marriage with the Spurs quickly dwindled.
This offseason, Blair left the San Antonio Spurs, a mutual decision, and joined arguably the Spurs biggest rival, the Dallas Mavericks. As fate would have it, the two teams were matched up in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Blair went on to say this about the matchup and his former team (via Dallas Morning News):
“It’s going to be fun being on the opposite team and playing with the Mavs (against the Spurs). They didn’t give me anything when I was there. I mean, the fans gave me everything. But everything else, it is what it is. I just look for us to get a win (when Dallas plays the Spurs).”
To say it hasn’t been fun out there for Blair is a lie. (via Dallas Star-Telegram)
“Just the whole environment and the boos and all that was just something that was a lot of fun for me.”
On the court, Blair is bringing energy all over the place. Whether it be pumping up his teammates, rebounding, or scoring, he has brought a punch off the bench.
Before getting ejected from game four, Blair was 5-for-5 with twelve points and eleven rebounds in just 16 minutes. In game six, he tallied up ten points, 14 rebounds, four steals, and a +11 +/- rating.
Via Rant Sports, Blair said this:
“Another man’s trash is another man’s treasure… Everything everybody’s been saying is all fuel to what I’m doing right now and I’m just trying to be consistent.”
Blair has used revenge as a motivator his whole career. He did it when he entered the league, and he’s doing it now after he felt his former team slighted him.
When the Spurs drafted Blair, he said this: (via San Antonio Express-News)
“They were the one team that believed in me. Since they believed in me, I’m going to give them 1000 percent.”
He’s now giving 1000 percent to the opposition.
And that is one of the 25 teams that passed on him in 2009.
Isn’t that ironic?