Tuesday, June 30, 2009

DeJuan Blair Is Now His Own Rebound

I like DeJuan Blair.

I therefore disliked DeJuan Blair's original decision to hire an agent legal counsel for marketing, and disliked his erratic behavior with respect to erratic advisors, and even disliked certain aspects of the "glowing reports" from his pre-draft workouts.

Now, I especially dislike the disaster that was draft day for DeJuan Blair.

Happy Walters, the agent who has been working volunteering (because it ain't work 'less you get paid --right, Happy?) for Blair most recently, calls the drop to the second round a 'blessing in disguise.' That strikes me as the caliber of thinking that could lead to being found (after going missing for a few days) wandering the streets incoherent, naked, shaved, covered by cigarette burns, amnesiatic and (at least when police are within earshot) mute.

Being drafted in the second round by the Spurs (just after the Grizzlies drafted Sam Young) guarantees Blair nothing. Not a first round pick's automatic roster spot; Blair must make the team. Not a signing bonus. Not a million-dollar salary (he will earn the NBA minimum, nearly $500,000 -- if he makes the team). Blair lost several million dollars in a few hours when he fell to the second round, and smart money knows that the first couple of million are the most important.

Blair had claimed he was "guaranteed" to be a first-round selection, and some local newspaper articles about Blair were mentioning the 13th pick (Indiana) in the week preceding the draft, but after some inquiries I had a hunch Sam Young might be chosen before Blair (as the Propositions Board reflected). I still expect Young -- who exhausted his collegiate eligibility, worked hard on his game throughout his Pitt career, engaged in no pre-draft razzle-dazzle, and has a playing style much better suited to the NBA at 6-5 and a fraction -- to have the better NBA career.

But this doesn't necessarily mean DeJuan Blair's athletic career must end bitterly. I hope he rebounds.

That may involve arranging some better advisors, catching some luck with the Spurs, reconsidering his football prospects, continuing to pursue a Pitt degree . . . and learning some expensive lessons from recent events.

P.S. The NBA has been in Memphis for nearly a decade, and a couple of friends have been associated with that team, but I still can't get accustomed to "Memphis Grizzlies" and "NBA" as related concepts. Same with the Phoenix Coyotes and Nashville Predators and Atlanta Thrashers . . . my first thought is always "semi-pro jai alai?" or "lingerie football?" and my second thought is usually 'why are the Penguins playing a minor-league team in January?'


Matt H said...

He will make the team. They got a steal with him at that slot.

Infinonymous said...

Second-round success is relatively rare, particularly for a back-to-the-basket player (slashers and perimeter players sometimes excel after dropping because of size). Blair to the Spurs (no first-round pick) and Young to the Grizzlies (could help immediately on a roster than needs help) were fortunate second-round draws, but nothing is guaranteed for either player.

Bear 07666 said...

Two things 1. Apparently someone, whether it was Happy or DeJuan decided that they could make it to the play-offs. How many 1st rounders are in the playoffs and making an impact. #2. The ish that Happy went thru you'd still be cleaning your drawers. #3 Acknowledging talent has always been a talent of Happy, Cypress Hill, House O'Pain, Korn, incubus, 30 sec to Mars.

Infinonymous said...

Neither Happy nor DeJuan decided anything about the playoffs. DeJuan Blair was selected by the Spurs, who reached the playoffs, with DeJuan Blair aboard.

Mr. Walters' "ish" demonstrates that he should be seeking, more than offering, advice.

DeJuan Blair's decision to leave college made sense because of the shocking reports from physicians concerning his knees. It was better, given their condition, to risk them in the NBA than in college. Nothing is guaranteed a second-round pick. DeJuan Blair's longshot paid off, which is good, but anyone who didn't recognize it as a longshot (or admit it was a longshot) was mistaken at best. And anyone who pushed a decision to turn pro before those medical reports arrived was motivated by something other than DeJuan Blair's interests.