DeJuan Blair - the Beast

[Note by Cornrows, 04/10/09 7:24 AM EDT From the FanPosts, psvirsky pumps up DeJuan Blair as a glass-eating post presence for the Pacers.]

Here comes one of my favorite guys so I'm just going to jump right in.  Blair is the sort of player that you can describe very well with about 5 simple traits.  1 - He's one of the best offensive rebouners college has had in a long while (  2 - He's only 6'7 but he's got a 7'3 wing span and weighs 265 lb (pure muscle).  3 - He plays with a mean streak and knows how to use his body down low.  4 - As impressive as he is, he's not necessarily uber-athletic.  5 - He's very competitive and one of the toughest players out there ( throwing Hasheem Thabeet on to the ground).  

I'll be honest though, he's got some serious flaws.  He's projected at 22 for a reason.  He plays PF but he's only 6'7 and not a huge jumper or anything.  Offensively, he'll get most of his points off of put-backs or broken plays because he doesn't have a jumper yet.  As for his post moves, he has some instinct but no go-to moves yet.  He's a bad free throw shooter.

However, he is one of those players who just does certain things really really great.  His offensive rebound and total rebounding numbers are off the charts.  He's second in the country in rebounds per 40/minutes and did so in the Big East against some taller guys.  He is a tough, competitive, make energy-plays kind of guy and a player who doesn't need plays run for him to get his points.  His hands are unbelievable - he corrals everything near him.  The dude is pure muscle.  For what it's worth, he's about to turn 20 in a couple weeks.   

Ultimately, I understand there are decent arguments against him, and unless things change, picking him up at 12 or so would be way too early.  Maybe his stock will go up and we'll need that pick, but maybe we'd be better of trading back to get him.  The thing about him is that of all the first rounders, he would fit on to this Pacers team better than anyone else.  If he could be a starter that just brings toughness and rebounding, he could change the spirit of the team.  I think Roy looks tougher next to him.  His offensive rebounds would lead to more 2nd chance shots (he happens to be a decent passer out of the post too).  I'll leave you with some quotes:

DeJuan Blair’s statistical output this season has been nothing short of spectacular. He ranks #1 in PER with an astounding 38.9, which is due in large part to his efficiency offensively and the high value placed on offensive rebounding – an area where Blair excels at averaging 8.1 per-40 minutes, which is first in the nation by a wide margin, and also the most amongst all players in our database in the last eight years. 

- Blair resembles more of a linebacker than a power forward, and because of his low center of gravity, standing at a modest 6’7, and his wide frame, weighing in 260 pounds, Blair is able to take up a lot of room in the painted area. In addition, his frame helps him and his teammates, seeing that he sets some of the best screens in the country. Furthermore, his freakishly long wingspan makes up for his lack of height and his incredibly soft hands enable him to wrestle boards away from the opposition. 

-  he has a tendency to go about his business quietly and refrain from putting his stamp on the game. The fact that he can potentially do more speaks volumes as to the player that he really is. 

- he is extremely efficient, finishing 59% of his 2-point shots, which ranks him 11th in that category. He uses his body to his advantage inside and in the post, as he finds different ways to get his defender on his back – making it easier for him to finish. He certainly plays below the rim however and his lack of leaping ability has made him susceptible to blocked shots, although he has improved in utilizing crafty moves to get shots off. There is a distinct concern that at the NBA level he will struggle much more to score around the basket, though, considering his lack of size and explosiveness.

- Blair also does an excellent job at establishing deep position in the post. He’s also deceptively quick down there, often using the baseline and reversing on the other side of the rim to shield his defender – putting them in “jail”. He doesn’t have any type of face-up game at this point and lacks consistency with his shot 

- His free throw percentage actually declined this year, going from 62.4% to 60.5%.

- One of his better qualities is his patience, as he doesn’t really force anything and does a good job at kicking the ball out to open shooters

- He lacks great lateral quickness to stay with anyone who drags him out and away from the basket. This is evident in isolations and pick and roll situations, where he’s forced to switch or hold a hedge for an extra second.

What does everyone think?  My opinion is too biased at this point.