DeJuan Blair has had an interesting career arc, considering the lack of minutes and production. He was highly praised out of college, and then slipped in the draft. It was possible he wouldn't even be drafted at all. But despite the issues with his ACLs, which haven't been a problem for him so far in the pros, as far as we know (and knowing anything about Spurs' health is an issue), he never excelled after his rookie season and slowly sank out of the rotation.
He signed with the Mavericks this summer as a free agent and has been quietly critical of the always-praised Spurs organization. From the Dallas Morning News:
"I don't know,” Blair said. “Pop stopped [playing] me. I couldn't tell you what was going through that man's head at all. Nobody knows but him.”
What was perfectly clear, though, was that Blair needed a change of address.
“I had to leave and come here where I think they'll give me confidence and believe in me,” he said. “I didn't think they believed in me in San Antonio, so that's pretty good here. I feel supported. That's how it is.”
Blair also said he had the Spurs' game for next season circled, and that if he had played in the seven-game loss to the Heat in the Finals, the Spurs would have won the title. Yes, because clearly Blair was going to be the difference there.
Nothing explosive there, but it's interesting to see Blair criticize the team that saved his career by drafting him, and to blast a team that's widely regarded as one of the best, especially at developing talent.
Basically, if the Spurs couldn't make an NBA player out of Blair, can anyone? Dallas certainly thinks they can. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle wants Blair to play as an "enforcer" type.
“DeJuan was a really important acquisition for us because Elton Brand didn't return,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “We need that physical (butt)-kicker to put out there and be an enforcer for us.”
Can Blair prove a team that always seems to be right wrong? Is it his attitude, play, or just opportunity that held him back these last few years? The continuing arc of Blair's career remains perplexing and curious.