FanPost

TLO's Daydream about the Teens: Dejuan Blair Edition

Note: first of all, I must explain the title. By daydream about the teens, I mean my daydreams about the teen years for the Spurs. As in, what the wildest fantasies I see happening for the spurs throughout the 2013 and forward years. I must also point out that this is probably the most optimistic view, yet still in the realm of possibility for our team throughout those years (2013-2019). If you want me to change the title to something more appropriate, since it was mentioned somewhere here that this is a family blog, I would gladly do so. Or you can add (years) at the end which I was considering doing. I just happen to like bold, somewhat controversial statements to get people's attention for joking stupid humor. 

 

Okay guys, I know how much everyone (including myself) is excited about the upcoming year and speculating about the upcoming rotation. There are also others that just can't help but look to the year ahead of this one and make their well-informed guesses. But I also know that there are some people that are actually more excited about the transition period than about the last swings thrown by Timmy, and I am one of them.  I can't help but look at this time period, speculate and be as optimistic as possible. I know that all that I mention will not happen, but it's not outside the realm of possibility. I welcome criticism, because my main objective is to open up a discussion about the future of our team and the future/potential of our players. If one thing will be fore sure throughout this time, it will be that this team will be run by TP. Tony Parker is 27 years old (Born May 17, 1982). By the time the year 2013 rolls into the season, he'll be 30. When the 2013-2014 season begins, he'll be 31. Expect a fast paced style of play with Tony being the main cog to our offense (the man is one man fast break already). Can you imagine him with other players running along his side ready to shoot or dunk the ball if he passes it? Timmy will soon give the car keys to Parker, and Parker will no doubt crank it to a higher gear. 

P1
"One day RC, uhh... I mean TP, this will all be yours... and your beard will be more normal too"

 

Dejuan Blair:

Okay, he's one the players we've been most excited about this year. Heck, even Obama (not referring to LatinD though the resemblance is uncanny) mentioned "I think Blair is uh, is a man" right here (at 1:45, JRW please teach me how to link youtube vidoes to a specific time in the videos whenever you can please). I was not yet a member of PtR, but to this day, I cannot count the number of times I have read:

recced to the 37th pick!

Once we had drafted him, the only thing I knew about him was that he was not supposed to be a second round pick. So although I was elated for us grabbing him, I then spent the next few days online, learning about his game. I started off with youtube, videos to gauge his game (here and another here. Oh, and I almost forgot this video which I like most ). Sites such as DraftExpress and NBADraft also offered good written analysis of his strengths and weaknesses. Of course, fellow junkies here at PtR dug much deeper and posted great reads

Large_dejuan_20blair_medium
Blue collar Dejuan, carrying his lunch to school

Well, we got our first glimpse of Dejuan during the Vegas Summer League. ATS's coverage of the entire summer league was the most in depth, thorough analysis on the entire interweb. Fortunately for us, he has a slight affinity for the Spurs and wrote a post about Dejuan Blair in which he addressed both reasons for concern and optimism. 

The preseason debut of Blair only confirmed our reasons for optimism (SPACE EATING), while still showing us that our reasons for concern (Defense), though valid, could be mitigated with practice and learning the system.Here's another great PtR post of Blair, which talks about his strengths, weaknesses, and what to expect from him for this season.

 

Beyond The Now:

What I want to focus on (and not just show you link after link of other people's analysis of Blair) is beyond the next few seasons. How will Blair fit in with what is soon to be Tony Parker's team (some people say it already is but not me). Well, the bad news is that out of all of the players that the Spurs currently have that will continue to be in the roster past 2012 (i'm expecting that the Spurs will resign Parker and have Hairston there also, and I'm hoping that Splitter will be there too) Dejuan is the player that will least fit into their faster paced game, Yes, it is true that his game is most suited for a half court offense (what we have now), but that's not to say that the Spurs will turn to the GSW once Duncan retires (if he does) on 2012. I think that while the Spurs will certainly go out and run more, they will still run a lot of half court offense, at the very least 50% percent half court offense ( does that mean 25% court offense?). Anyways, Blair although not perfectly suited, will still provide a lot for our team, and that's what you want from a rugged blue collar player, you want him to fit into the system, and i'm sure Blair will do that. Now onto his offensive and defensive potential.

  Offense: I'm not sure that Blair's greatest leap will be offensively (at leats I really hope not). He already (you're getting ahead of yourself tlo, he has not played a regular season game yet) grabs offensive boards and makes the put-backs. The greatest contribution to his offense that he will develop is his jumper. However, if you were paying attention, Wayne (ATS) said that:

He needs work with his shot.  It comes out of his hands with a sideways rotation.  He won't be able to develop a good mid-range game with his current stroke.

Dammit! I didn't like pasting that either, but if you're like me and daydreaming, you'll know that Chip can do wonders for strokes. I also recently catched a cool video in which Blair shows of a decent stroke (but terrible pick-n-roll defense). I really don't think that Blair can ever have a great jumpshot, but if he, at the very least develops a decent jumpshot, his quickness can flourish. Now, i'm not saying Blair is quick, he's not, but he's deceptively quick for a guy his size and weight. Having a decent jumper will help him with keeping the defense at their heels, and pump faking to take it to the hole, which he does best. As far as actual low post moves and catching it on the block and doing something with it, I don't know how he'll be able to do with that against actual NBA defenders ( I don't consider the Rockets 6'9" Scola, 6'9" Landry, 6'6" Hayes, and some shooting dude called Anderson actual NBA big men). I really hope Timmy can show Dejuan some finesse moves, but I think that can only help Blair so much with his size. Now, I may sound pessimistic (didn't you write the title), but I don't think that Blair will ever be more than a bench player, don't think he'll ever be a starter. I still feel so excited about having him though, and at the second round, what a great value, but I just don't see him being a starter ever. =/

Defense: In this department, I see the most improvement for Blair. Now, it may be because most sites like DraftExpress and NBADraft listed his defense as a weakness for him, so it's easier to improve your weaknesses, but i don't think so. The reason I see Blair having the most potential for improvement in the defensive aspect of his game is because of his low center of gravity. At only 6'7" and 260 pounds, Blair is hard to move out of position. Just think of how great Blair would be (just Blair, not the Spurs) if someone like Chuck Hayes, or Kurt Thomas were on the Spurs and teaching him about low post defense. Just think about how great Blair would be at establishing lost post defensive positioning if he focused on it as much as he focuses on his:

See Ball, Get Ball

 philosophy (I sometimes call him the SBGB rockstar). A lot of people say however, that you can't teach rebounding and having a nose for the ball. ATS also said how Blair tends to lollygag up the court. Well, II wonder if that's also true for lollygagging, and that people are born with defense, and getting started on defensive positioning early. I don't think that's the case. If you care about only winning, and you eventually learn about more defensive principles and practices, you'll eventually apply that hustle-filled attitude with everything you do. I do believe that the Spurs coaching staff will teach Blair plenty of things. And although he's slow, short and a rookie, I see that if Blair will ever get a starting role, it will be because of his defensive potential which hopefully he can convert.

I really turn giddy with thinking about Blair having as much rebounding energy to sprint up and down the court, and establish good low post defensive positioning, then using his low center of gravity to not give up an inch of it to the offensive player (he already has the Kurt Thomas death stare).

Blair_medium
Blair: You have two choices ball, implode, or become subject to my space!

His wingspan will then be used to disrupt (not block) the offensive player of his attack. This is what I daydreamed about one weird (high) night after seeing Blair play in the summer league. I've been postponing this post for a long time, now I want your input.

How good do you think Blair can be, and how will he fit into our TP offense in a couple of years?

This is fan-created content on PoundingtheRock.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff at Pounding the Rock.

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