San Antonio’s DeJuan Blair thrived despite being born without ACLs. Turns out, it’s been much harder to thrive without playoff playing time. Blair got into just 76 minutes in the playoffs because of the Spurs’ pickup of Boris Diaw late last season — after starting 62 of 66 games in the regular season. It’s a situation that would have been laughable when Blair was 15.4 points and 12.7 minutes per 36 minutes his rookie season in 2009-10. It’s even weirder considering his minutes actually have increased by nearly three each game since his rookie year, but his spot ultimately disappeared late. Now, he thinks he’s gone.
Blair vented to the San Antonio News-Express on Monday.
“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.”
He’s talking about 6-11 Erazem Lorbeck but he’s expected to sign with a Spanish club. As the News-Express reported, the Spurs are likely going to offer Diaw a contract after he’d signed with the Spurs as a free agent in March, which means the reduced role could come much earlier for Blair this season.
“I had a ball last season, except for the playoffs,” he said. “I had fun on the bench, cheering. It was great to see the fellas play hard and win and everything. Pop’s a great coach, but I wasn’t what he wanted at that time. So take it as ‘what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.’
Blair is in Las Vegas playing for the USA Selects team, which scrimmages against the Team USA before the latter heads to the Olympics. Blair also is presumably avoiding Gregg Popovich.
Should his role have been bigger late last season?
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