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DeJuan Blair says reason Spurs didn’t win Finals is he didn’t play enough

Aug 19, 2013, 11:05 AM EDT

DeJuan Blair, Gregg Popovich AP

Not everybody loves Gregg Popovich.

Meet DeJuan Blair. You might remember him as the big man without ACLs who played pretty well for the Spurs — he started all but four games two seasons ago and averaged 9.5 points a game. However, he fell out of the rotation last season as Popovich went with the bigger, more solid defender that is Tiago Splitter. Popovich also liked the shooting that Boris Diaw and Matt Bonner brought to the lineup, so they got more run than Blair.

Those rotation changes helped San Antonio improve it’s defensive rating by two points per 100 possessions and saw them reach the NBA Finals.

But Blair, now a Maverick, is pretty bitter about the changes and slammed Popovich to the Dallas Morning News (via Project Spurs) by saying the Spurs would have won if he had gotten run.

When asked about getting back to the NBA Finals, Blair, “Of course I want to get back. I don’t think we’ve [Spurs] would have came up short if I would’ve played but, hey, keep that out there.”

If Blair were out there, the Spurs likely are not in the Finals, but we shouldn’t let a few pesky facts get in the way of our resentments. Besides, Spurs fans know they were just a made free throw or defensive rebound away from winning it, not more Blair.

Blair should be warned, however, that Mavs coach Rick Carlisle is as old school a disciplinarian as Popovich when it comes to minutes and team structure. He should get more run on this Dallas roster, but if he wants to see his minutes dry up fast he should try slamming Carlisle and his rotations.

  1. ProBasketballPundit - Aug 19, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    I hope Dallas has a good team psychologist.

    • chris213141 - Aug 19, 2013 at 1:46 PM

      They actually do have one of the best in the business :) Cuban regarded it as one of the reasons the 2011 Championship team did so well.

      • adamsjohn714 - Aug 23, 2013 at 9:25 AM

        Tyson Chandler is a psychologist?

  2. thenew013 - Aug 19, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    I am glad he found a new home that will give him more run. Not that I fully agree with him but I always thought he was pretty good. Hopefully he shines in Dallas.

  3. supremekingz - Aug 19, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    He’s a bum. Plain and simple.

  4. dls612 - Aug 19, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    As a heat fan with all that the spurs threw at Miami and they did bring it! Blair playing wouldn’t have matter because some things are destined to happen! With that being said I give him props on being confident!

    • ccjknowshoops - Aug 19, 2013 at 2:43 PM

      I think Blair would have changed destiny. He is so strong, Bosh wouldn’t have come up with huge energy plays to put the Heat over the top because he’s the guy who would have had to try to keep Blair off the boards.

      I don’t like the Heat but Eric Spoelstra/Pat Riley coached them well and the Heat fought to win. Popovich coached poorly IMO in very key moments. He was wrong to keep Blair on the bench IMO.

  5. chris3702 - Aug 19, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    Blair pop didn’t play u cuz u weren’t needed! So go cry up in small D cuz u probably won’t get no playing time up there!! But then again mavs r desperate! and title chances r slim to none

  6. mickdamill - Aug 19, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    Yes Blair, Pops has no idea what he is doing. LOL

    • legend30 - Aug 19, 2013 at 11:53 AM

      I mean didn’t he took out Duncan during game 6, when Ray Allen made the….. You know the rest.

      • adamsjohn714 - Aug 19, 2013 at 4:24 PM

        At least he didn’t compound that 1 mistake by putting in Blair.

  7. supremekingz - Aug 19, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    I’ll say it again. He’s a bum. Who’s afraid of going againnst DeJuan Blair? He’s a 6’7 Center who weighs almost 300 pounds who absolutely can’t score and has an attitude problem. If the level of play of Centers in the 2000’s wasn’t so terrible, he wouldn’t be in the league. Can you imagine him making it as a Center in the 80’s or 90’s?

    I’m siding with Pop on this one. He’s garbage. if not garbage, he’s definitely recycling bin

    • ccjknowshoops - Aug 19, 2013 at 2:37 PM

      That’s just wrong.

      14.9 points and 11.1 rebounds per 36 minutes for his career, regular season. 17.0 points and 12.2 rebounds, with ridiculously good efficiency in the playoffs per 36 for his career. supremkingz, you dislike the guys’ weight but you are very wrong about his scoring. This player carried a team to the Final Four and he started for the Spurs many games as a 20-year old, rookie. I can’t stand stupid comments like what you just posted.

  8. unsportsmenmic - Aug 19, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    Reblogged this on UnSportsMenMic and commented:
    That’s fine because I thought Blair would be a Key to the spurs winning. I guess Blair thought the same.

  9. edwardemanuelson - Aug 19, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    DeJuan has the NBA Finals confused with a cheesburger eating contest at McDonalds.

    • ccjknowshoops - Aug 19, 2013 at 2:33 PM

      You wouldn’t know his playoff PER from a cheeseburger, is my guess. His weight didn’t keep him from starting as a rookie for the Spurs. He’s been overmatched defensively, but the guy is a rebounder and a scorer and a really good player.

  10. ccjknowshoops - Aug 19, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    I totally agree with DeJuan about the Spurs’ finals loss. Splitter helped them get to the finals. Tiago Splitter’s defense against the Grizzlies was key. However, against Miami they needed energy and some more offense inside. Blair’s physicality would have given them some energy. I think Popovich, a great coach, had a bad finals. He stuck with Ginobili and Splitter too much. He didn’t play Blair, a guy who certainly could have helped in crunch moments.

    The Spurs also missed Stephen Jackson’s ability to create his own shots once the Heat keyed in on Danny Green.

    • ccjknowshoops - Aug 19, 2013 at 2:40 PM

      I realize Jackson was no longer on the team, and was replaced with Tracy McGrady.

  11. zzztknk - Aug 19, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    During his rookie year Blair had 28pts and 21 rebounds against the Thunder and 27pts and 23 rebounds against the Mavs, both playoff bound teams. Those stats are pretty rare for a rookie! Blair can play if he gets the right opportunity.

    • adamsjohn714 - Aug 19, 2013 at 4:25 PM

      During the rest of his career, he put up numbers that showed he wasn’t anywhere near as good as Duncan, or even Tiago Splitter. You know, the two guys in front of him.

  12. bigmizzax - Aug 19, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    He shouldn’t have been playing over Splitter or Duncan, but I do believe he should have gotten more minutes. It’s tough to say the Spurs would have won for sure with Blair playing more, but given how close it was, it could have made a difference. Of course, it also could have lead to Spurs falling futher behind…. tough to say either way, but definitely a dumb thing for an athlete to say publicly

  13. chicagofan - Aug 19, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    Recall Splitter was very tentative and limited on offensive and certainly allowed the Heat to focus on the 4 other players when he played. If Blair would have been more aggressive offensively, then maybe he is not as crazy as he sounds.

    • adamsjohn714 - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:19 AM

      except Splitter is better at shooting (by a lot), getting to the FT line, overall scoring (on fewer shots too), blocks, assists, not committing turnovers, not fouling (by a lot). But, I guess you could put Blair in if you were in that specific situation where you needed .6 more rebounds per 48 minutes, or .6 more steals per 48 minutes. I wonder if Popovich knew that too? Probably not.

      • Kurt Helin - Aug 20, 2013 at 11:32 AM

        Splitter is just a much better all around player. It’s not really a debate.

  14. unfly - Aug 19, 2013 at 11:30 PM

    I disagree with him but I’m not mad at him for saying that. To play in the league you have to have some sort of ego just to not get eaten alive and your confidence taken from you. Hopefully he gets more PT in Dallas.

  15. skinsfanwill - Aug 20, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    comparing apples to apples here. Splitter is just as much of a bum as Blair is. I wouldn’t take either of them on my team. But Blair is a better player. Pop cut Stephen Jackson too. Is Splitter better than him?

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