You know, it isn’t a good sign of how well your NBA career went when the most recent pictures the Getty database has for you are of G League and EuroLeague games. Yet, that’s where we are with DeJuan Blair.
What’s wild about it is that Blair actually flashed some promise early in his NBA run. Which makes sense considering where some draft boards had him ranked. He was a bit short for a power forward — certainly for a center — but his girth, wingspan and skill in the post made him an enticing prospect heading into the draft.
The San Antonio Spurs took him in the second round of the actual draft. For at least a couple of seasons, it looked as though general manager R.C. Buford and head coach Gregg Popovich mined another late-round diamond for San Antonio.
In his first three years, Blair averaged 8.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game with .140 WS/48 and a 17.5 PER as Tim Duncan’s understudy. But not long after, Blair saw a significant chunk of minutes reallocated to more versatile players like Tiago Splitter and Boris Diaw. Blair publicly voiced his displeasure, which, of course, led to him riding the bench for most of the 2012-13 season.
After leaving San Antonio, Blair played for the Dallas Mavericks for a season before spending his last two NBA seasons with the Washington Wizards and by 2016, he was out of the league.
Blair was probably destined for obsolescence due to his one-dimensional post game, but his seven NBA seasons were far more productive than Victor Claver’s three (.011 WS/48 speaks for itself). In the short-term, this would’ve been a shrewd pick by the Portland Trail Blazers.