Looking back to the 2009 Draft, the Nuggets somehow, someway, acquired the star point guard of the UNC Tar Heels that won the NCAA Title that year. What's his name? Ty Lawson.That was simply one of the best draft moves I witnessed, and of course it's a great job by Mark Warkentein. Instead of playing for the then-smelly-as-sh** Minnesota T'Wolves, Lawson gets to be mentored by the second-best Nugget PG in history, Chauncey Billups. Fast forward to now, Lawson became the future of the Denver Nuggets after Melo got traded to New York.
But after Lawson was selected, someone who is worthy of a lottery pick was still available AFTER THE FIRST ROUND!!! The Nuggets had the 4th pick in the second round and used that to pick on Sergio Llull. Was Llull that lottery pick player I was talkin' about? NO! That guy was DeJuan Blair, who was happily picked by the San Antonio Spurs 3 spots later. Did that draft mistake matter? Not yet, because not only DeJuan Blair was red flagged for his lack of ACLs on both knees, he was also undersized for a center-forward. The Nuggets were fresh off the WCF defeat to the taller Los Angeles Lakers (remember Pau Gasol, 7'1", torching Kenyon Martin, 6'9", in game 6?), so it makes sense Denver did not lament on not selecting Blair. But now, that draft mistake finally haunted the Nuggets well. According to Basketball-Reference.com, in Blair's career 9.1 points and 5.6 rebounds against Denver, he averaged 19 points and 9.7 rebounds in the games the Spurs won by at least 15 points. In those games the Spurs dominated the Nuggets, he was a matchup nightmare in the inside and was punishing the Nuggets bigs for boxing out half-heartedly. These blowout wins by Spurs also happened AT DENVER, so the Nuggets fans can witness how much of a mistake the Nuggets brass made.
But after last season Blair wanted out of San Antonio, mainly because of the addition of Boris Diaw, which made his minutes plummet drastically. This is the chance for Masai Ujiri to pursue Blair. Masai has been looking for potential and all of his front office decisions haven't been bad. Add to the fact that Denver has one of the best development crews, I think it makes sense Blair can redeem his career in the Mile High City.
Why get him?
- Just like our own Kenneth Faried, DeJuan Blair can rebound well despite him being undersized (as what's evident by his 6.4 rebound average in 20.2 minutes, and his 11.3 rebound average per 36 minutes). With his bulky frame weighing 270-pounds, he is capable of playing as center. Nuggets fans were mad at Karl for putting (former Nugget) Al Harrington at the center position in his smallball lineup. Imagine if Karl played Blair in his smallball lineup? The lack of rebounding is negated, as what his rebounding stats suggest it would. Blair also has great potential to be a banger a la Zach Randolph, so the problems about Denver's dearth of post players can be solved.
- With Mozgov remaining as an enigma, Blair should play backup center minutes. As I mentioned earlier, his is a player who can bang and doesn't have a problem getting banged. Expect him to hold Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum from going to their best inside position. If Moz remains clumsy and lost next season, then he'll surely be traded.
I just thought of this trade suggestion: http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=8tqublc
Why do this trade? (aside from getting DeJuan Blair)
- Dallas seemed to have forgotten that game vs GSW where Beaubois scored 40 points. It's just one game, but that game showed how much potential Beaubois actually has. Roddy will likely be shipped out, and Denver is the right place to make a new start right. Undersized, there's a chance Roddy can develop in a combo guard instead of being just a shooting guard. Some advice from coach Karl and Andre Miller will do.
- I am sick of Kosta Koufos being foul-prone and easily gets pushed by the likes of Andrew Bynum. I'll take the D' of Moz any day, just not that painful-to-watch post D' of K2. I know Blair can change that, but at a cheaper price.
- Stone has the defense, and the unselfishness to not be expendable, but the fact that he doesn't have a jumpshot and he is just recovering from a hip injury, trading him is a must since he also has a non-guaranteed contract.
Acquiring DeJuan Blair is a safe decision because instead of risking some guys (Faried for example) to get a player like Josh Smith, Denver gets a player can has the skills (except athleticism) to have all-star potential.