A couple years ago DeJuan Blair was everybody’s favorite NBA players without any ACLs… well, he still is that as he is alone. But he was a regular part of the Spurs bigs rotation — 21 minutes a night, 8.3 points and 7 rebounds a game, he was considered a draft-day steal.
Now, Gregg Popovich rarely looks his way. Blair is out of the rotation.
Which means we shouldn’t be shocked he’s on the trade block as the Feb. 21 deadline approaches, something Chris Broussard of ESPN tweeted about.
It sounds like the Spurs are testing the market for Blair. Again.
Blair is a solid backup big around the paint — he can score on the block, is strong and energetic rebounder. Even this year, in a down year for him, he has a PER of 14.7 and most seasons he was above 17. He’s a solid man defender. There is value there.
However he can’t space the floor with any kind of midrange game — so your other big better be able to — and he’s not a great help defender against other bigs because 6’7” they can shoot over him still. Those limitations have him sitting behind guys like Tiago Splitter who can do both for the Spurs.
The Spurs shopped Blair around last summer but were asking a first round pick and nobody would give it up, partially because he is in the last year of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. Not sure the Spurs can get much for him now (he may need to be packaged). We’ll see if he gets moved but it’s a name to watch.
Billy Donovan was given the head coaching job in Oklahoma City to bring their offense into modern times — and it seems to be working, Russell Westbrook said he feels a lot more space in the system.
But if the Thunder are going to contend for a title, they need a top 10 defense as well — and to do that Donovan is going to keep a Scott Brooks move and continue to start Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. Check out the starting lineup for their first preseason game Wednesday.
There also was this report via Anthony Slater in the Oklahoman yesterday about a scrimmage at practice.
Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson all started for the White team. Nick Collison joined them, but that was only because Steven Adams sat out with back soreness….
Donovan said the teams weren’t split by accident. That’s how they’ve been divided in practice. So at this point, it seems Roberson is this team’s starting shooting guard and Adams is the team’s starting center.
This is the smart move. Last season the lineup of Westbrook, Roberson, Durant, Ibaka and Adams was +13.4 points per 100 possessions over their opponents. Roberson and Adams are there for defense — neither brings much offensive game to the floor, but when you have Westbrook and Durant and only one ball between them, you don’t need more offensive threats. You’re going to get plenty of points.
If they can just stay healthy, Oklahoma City is a team to be feared.
The Hall of Fame player behind the original iron man streak is with us no more.
Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88, the team confirmed Wednesday.
Gallatin led the Knicks of the late 1940s and into the 1950s, when he set a then record playing in 610 consecutive games. Nicknamed “The Horse,” he was a beast on the boards who averaged 15.3 rebounds a game one season and averaged 11.9 boards and 13 points per game over the course of his 10-year career. He’s still fourth all time in total rebounds in Knicks franchise history.
Gallatin was a seven-time All-Star and twice All-NBA selection. After his playing days, he spent many years as the athletic director at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends.