I therefore disliked DeJuan Blair's original decision to hire an
Now, I especially dislike the disaster that was draft day for DeJuan Blair.
Happy Walters, the agent who has been
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?'