DeJuan missed game two of the NBA Summer League. With his contract all inked up like Chris Andersen, he got after it in game three. BFO (Blair Force One) had 20 points and 5 rebounds in 27 minutes of play. He got the post-game interview. He got the MYSA story. He was Tweeted by David Thorpe.
But did he get the ATS Thumbs Up? Overall, yes, but three things really concern me.
ATS Causes For Concern
One, for the second game in a row, he showed a lack of hustle to the defensive end and instead trotted. In one particular instance, it was after he had made an extra effort to get an offensive rebound that was a long shot to grab. He then lollygagged behind the play and put his team at a numbers disadvantage. His lollygagging paid off as the Thunder missed a contested layup and Blair got a dunk. While this is correctable, and it will be corrected as we all know or he won't play, it is a disturbing indication that he's not quite the all-out motor we had thought.
Two, he's short. At only 6' 7", he was unable to adequately defend DJ White in the post. On two occasions, DJ was able to back him down to about 10' and then shoot over him. Blair can bang and hold his position, but he can't challenge those shots.
Three, he got outworked on the defensive glass. The man he mostly matched up with, Serge Ibaka, had 8 rebounds in 22 minutes. 7, yes 7, of those were offensive rebounds. DeJuan had two defensive rebounds. That is not a good ratio. AT. ALL.
Other observations on DeJuan
He did work hard for the most part on defense and was active in the pick and roll. He did, however, on a couple occasions allow his man to post up in front of him without challenging the position from the beginning. He didn't start playing his defense until his man got the ball.
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.
He loves the contact in the post when he has the ball. He instigates the contact on his moves and looks to overpower his opponent. I like. He did show a lack of control on a couple of possessions and will need to learn to maintain his aggression while maintaining control as he starts to play against better competition.
Outside of his height, I expect my other two concerns will be addressed. In order for the Blair Force One to be a contributing member of the Spurs rotation, he is going to have to crank his motor up on the defensive end and OWN that end of the court first. We all know this. You don't play for the Spurs if you don't. He'll get there.
The most underrated part of Blair's game is his footwork He probably has the best footwork of any big man in Vegas. And yes, I am including The Lord Of The Dance in that statement. He can spin and dip with great speed while always maintaining his pivot foot. It's what allows him to get up shots in the paint.
I think DeJuan will be a beast for us this season, but he still has a couple basics he needs to work on -- hustling and rebounding on the defensive end -- before we even get to the whole "learning the system" part of things. So, if you are looking for something to watch with regards to DeJuan, watch his transition hustle from offense to defense and his work on the defensive glass.